Let the Games begin!
Following months of preparation, 116 athletes Team Yukon athletes will compete at the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg July 28 to Aug. 13.
Dawson City’s Jack Amos will be Team Yukon’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony tonight. The 16-year-old athletics competitor will compete in the 1,500- and 5,000-metre events on the track.
Amos won two gold in track at the Jack Brow Memorial Track and Field Meet earlier this month in Kelowna, B.C. and gold in the 3,000-metre at the Alberta Indoor Track and Field Championships in March. He also captured three medals for Yukon in snowshoeing at the 2016 Arctic Winter Games and won the midget male title at the 2016 B.C. Cross Country Championships.
“There were a few people’s names put forward and we thought Jack would ultimately be the best candidate based on all his accomplishments this year,” said Yukon Chef de Mission Trevor Twardochleb. “The fact that Athletics (Yukon) nominated him speaks volumes on his leadership. The fact that he’s also from Dawson City and shows a real commitment to his sport and to giving back to his sport … and he seems like just a nice young man, I think it’ll be a big honour for him and for us for him to carry in our flag.”
Highlighting the depth of Yukon talent are five Yukon athletes who will compete both weeks of the Games in two different sports.
Jayden Demchuk, Peyton Twardochleb and Alice Frost-Hanberg will compete in soccer the first week and volleyball the second. As if two sports were not enough, Frost-Hanberg won a bronze in canoe racing at the North American Indigenous Games last week in Toronto.
Jetta Bilsky will compete in basketball and volleyball, and James Russell in athletics and soccer.
“They’re all very prepared, they’ve been working extremely hard this whole summer,” said Team Yukon assistant Chef de Mission Tracey Bilsky. “We have a few two-sport athletes…. The fact that we have athletes who can train for two different sports for Canada Games shows some major commitment.”
Unlike the 2013 Games, Yukon will not be represented in tennis and golf, but will be in beach volleyball for the first time. Max Clarke and Benjamin Grundmanis, who played beach volleyball at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games, will hit the sand next week.
“These are the same two, which is fantastic because they have that experience from westerns,” said Tracey, who is also executive director of Sport Yukon. “They’re two years older, and stronger, and we were thrilled that they want to represent us again.”
Yukon was represented in canoe/kayak for the first time at the 2013 Games in Sherbrooke, Que., by two paddlers. This time there are seven.
“That shows the growth of that association,” said Tracey. “Flatwater Yukon (coach) Dan Girouard has done a fantastic job recruiting kids. He’s really built that program. They have lots of athletes and it’s nice to see them showcased at the Canada Games.
“They don’t compete the first week, they compete the second, but they’re going down tomorrow (Friday) so they can train in Winnipeg to be ready.”
Team Yukon also includes 19 coaches, nine managers, six mission staff, two technical support staff, one athlete assistant, one Chef de Mission and one assistant Chef de Mission, as well as a photographer and communications person.
There are 116 athletes on Team Yukon, but there’ll be 117 Yukoners competing in Winnipeg, at last count. Whitehorse’s Tomas Jirousek, who has rowed for McGill University for the past couple seasons, will row for Team Quebec in the first week of the Games. He was asked to tryout for the team after being spotted at a regatta while rowing for McGill.
Yukon didn’t win a single medal at the 2013 Games in Sherbrooke, but won four at the 2009 Games in P.E.I. with two bronze and two gold — the territory’s first-ever gold at the Summer Games — won by swimmer Alexandra Gabor.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com
Coach — Kristen Johnston
Coach — Lisa-Marie Vowk
Coach — Don White
Manager — Aidan Bradley
Athlete assistant — Jerome McIntyre
Maggie O’Conner Brook
Coach — Tyler Bradford
Coach —Diedre Davidson
Manager — Claire Abbott
Coach —Tim Brady
Coach —Mark Hureau
Manager — Zachary Giczi
Coach — Dan Girouard
Manager — Kim Hobus
Technical support —Fearghus Vincent
Coach —Trena Irving
Technical support —Dean Eyre
Charlotte van Randen
Coach — Jake Hanson
Coach — Carmen Lindsay
Manager — Sarah Hanson
Alvaro Diaz Vega
Coach — Edgar Musonda
Coach — Marten Sealy
Manager — Paul Kishchuk
Coach — Malwina Bukszowana
Manager — Douglas Petriw
Coach — Melissa Laluk
Coach — Caroline Holway
Manager — Grainne Workman
Coach — D’Arcy Hill
Coach — Marc Senecal
Manager — Mike Toews
Coach — Matthew Taylor
Helen Anne Girouard
Chef de Mission — Trevor Twardochleb
Assistant Chef de Mission — Tracey Bilsky