Team Yukon came back with heavier luggage following the Canada 55+ Games last week in Sydney, Nova Scotia. There was plenty of hardware in tow.
Yukon won a total of 76 medals at the Games, setting a personal best for the territory.
That’s six more than the previous record set at the last Games in 2010. It’s also more than twice as many as the 35 won in 2008 and 2006.
As any of the Yukon athletes will tell you, they aren’t there to set world records, they are there for a good time. The team won on that front as well.
“It was a lot of fun,” said medal winner Dave Knight. “I was thrilled. I had some great teammates and some excellent competition and we had a lot of fun here. I enjoyed it immensely.”
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Last week was Knight’s first Games as an athlete. He and partners Holly Cowman, Bill Simpson and Linda Hewitt captured gold in bocce for the 55-and-over division.
“We had one loss to Prince Edward Island, so they had to add up points at the end to determine Yukon was the winner,” said Knight. “So we were thrilled to find out the news. But we were held in suspense until the very end.”
Interestingly, Yukon won more gold medals than silver and bronze combined, with 39 gold, 17 silver and 20 bronze.
Ten Yukon athletes captured five or more medals, all in either swimming or track and field – events in which more medals are up for grabs.
Donna Jones and Hank Leenders were leaving the competition in the dust in running events.
Jones ran to seven medals on the track, including four gold, in the 55-and-over division.
Leenders took in six medals with four gold in athletics for 70-and-over.
The other eight all captured five medals each. They include: John Hall in track and field with four gold; Roddy Dale in swimming with four gold; Nesta Leduc in swimming with two gold; Tom Parlee in athletics with two silver; Brenda Dion in athletics with four gold; Jim Coxford in swimming with two gold; Dave Kalles in track with one gold and three silver; and Susanna Edwards in swimming with two gold and two silver.
Team Yukon was comprised of 89 athletes, coaches and staff, with ages ranging from 55 to 87, in 13 events. Whitehorse, Dawson City, Tagish, Mayo, Carcross, Watson Lake and Marsh Lake were all represented.
The only team sport Yukon competed in was slopitch softball. On the diamond Yukon faced four Ontario teams and went winless, but not quietly. Two of the ballgames were tight, with Yukon losing 9-7 and 8-5.
“We played two good games and two we weren’t really clicking too well,” said Yukon pitcher Gary Burgess.
“It’s been fantastic, as far as being on Team Yukon. Our sportsmanship is just unbelievable. Everybody is going and supporting all the other teams if they can. And the cooperation we give to the officials and organizers has been phenomenal. There have been comments about how sportsmanlike and how good Team Yukon has been.”
In addition to the Yukon’s 76 medals, Rob Sutherland was given the Sports Attitude Award for his sportsmanship in darts.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com