Yukon collects a record 14 medals at Special Olympic Games

Yukon's Special Olympians performed at their best in the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games last week in Vancouver, B.C.

Yukon’s Special Olympians performed at their best in the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games last week in Vancouver, B.C.

Not only did athletes post many personal bests as individuals, the team as a whole delivered its best showing to date.

Team Yukon won 14 medals, the most ever collected by Yukon at the quadrennial national championship, up from 12 medals in 2010.

“I think it went really well,” said Yukon Chef de Mission Janine Peters. “The athletes have been training hard all year since the beginning of our season, which would have been the beginning of October. They’ve been working on a lot of different things like teamwork, nutrition, healthy eating.

“We’ve made sure the athletes know winning isn’t all about the medals, it’s learning how to be a team player.”

It was a big team that got big results. The Yukon squad was the largest ever set to the Games from Canada’s three territories with 24 athletes and 15 coaches and staff.

The largest part of the team was the soccer squad with 10 players and three coaches, and they made history.

Yukon captured its very first soccer gold in a thrilling shootout win over New Brunswick in the division C final on Saturday. Yukon won bronze at the 2006 Games and silver at the 2010 Games.

“There was a lot of emotion. The team was in tears after they won the gold medal,” said Yukon soccer coach Ken Binns.

“It was a very close, very exciting game throughout the final. It was pretty evenly matched.”

Yukon twice fought back from a goal down to finish regulation tied 2-2 and extra time tied 3-3.

The territory’s Kenny Atlin, Owen Munroe and Mike Sumner scored in the shootout to secure the win.

For Sumner, it was a “golden goal” and his first ever at a Games.

“It was amazing – the whole game was,” said Sumner. “I had my first ever soccer goal in the final goal.

“It was one of the best competitions I’ve ever had in my whole career.”

Yukon arrived in the final with a 6-0 win over P.E.I. and 2-0 over New Brunswick before a rematch in the gold medal match.

“Gaetan (Michaud) our goalie and Kenny Atlin, for sure, stood out,” said Sumner. “Owen Munroe played a really good tournament as well.”

Also playing for Yukon were Rachel Dawson, Teddy Jackson, Christopher Lee, Duncan McRae, Steven McGundy and Marvin Hall, Yukon’s flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies.

“It was very inspirational to watch all the athletes and exciting as it always is,” said Binn of the Games. “It was quite an experience for myself.”

Yukon’s Jessica Pruden and Darby McIntyre burned up the track in Vancouver.

The two athletics competitors each won two medals and set personal bests.

“I think they did really great,” said Yukon athletics coach Carmen Gustafson. “They had personal bests throughout and they were in very competitive divisions.

“Jessica’s races in the 100- and 200-metre were very close. So close I had to wait for the results to know if she got third or fourth.”

McIntyre, the youngest on the team at 14 years old, captured silver in the shot put and in the 5,000-metre, achieving his goal of breaking the 19-minute mark with a time of 18:57.77.

“He was strong throughout and at the finish he sprinted and it was fantastic,” said Gustafson.

McIntyre also claimed fifth in the 1,500-metre and sixth in the standing long jump.

“Darby has been working hard on running with Special Olympics and he also runs with (Athletics Yukon coach) Don White, and he has really advanced as a competitor,” said Gustafson. “Not just in his athletic ability, but his strategy, running smart races.

“The coaches from across the country were commenting on his abilities and his races. As a 14-year-old, he was surpassing older competitors with much more experience.”

Pruden threw to a bronze in shot put and then teamed up with runners from Saskatchewan to win gold in the 4×100-metre relay.

She also took fourth in the 100- and 200-metre races and fifth in the standing long jump.

“We worked a lot of the jumping and throwing,” said Gustafson. “We didn’t have access to the proper facilities for that, so we were actually using the beach volleyball courts at Rotary Park. We worked a lot on their technique in the shot put and standing long jump.”

Last week was the first time bocce was included in the national Games and Yukon won hardware in it. The territory came home with a bronze after a 16-4 win over Quebec.

“We had such good camaraderie between Quebec and Yukon,” said Yukon bocce coach Deb Sumner. “We were singing together and cheering for both teams.

“We played Quebec the day before and Quebec actually beat us.”

It was a tight competition. Yukon’s team of Aimee Lien, Taylor Amundson, Trevor Beemish and Teresa Roberts had the eventual gold winning Saskatchewan on the ropes and almost made the final.

“When we played Saskatchewan, I think seven or eight times we had game-point,” said Deb. “And then they went away with it. It was a tough one.”

Yukoners Ernest Chua and Kevin Spoffard were at their fastest in the pool.

The two swimmers each posted personal bests and won medals at their first nationals.

“I’m very impressed with the results,” said Yukon swim coach Kaitlin McDougall. “I’m most impressed with the personal bests that they achieved during the week. They have put in a lot of hard work this past year and the work paid off. I’m just incredibly proud of both Ernest and Kevin for all the hard work they’ve done to get to where they are.”

Chua took in a silver in the 200-metre freestyle and a bronze in the 50-metre freestyle with a personal best. He also grabbed fourth in the 100-metre backstroke and fifth in the 100 freestyle with a personal best.

Spoffard swam to bronze medals in the 25-metre backstroke and the 50-metre backstroke, with new personal bests in both events.

He also came fifth and sixth in the 50- and 25-metre freestyle races.

“Kevin, in the 50 freestyle and 50 backstroke, had personal bests by eight seconds in each event, which is incredible,” said McDougall. “Both Phil (Whiles) and I have coached this year and we are both proud of the effort they put in this year. Medals are great, but to see a good swim and a solid effort is what we’re there for.”

Yukon’s five-pin bowlers knocked pins en route to hardware. They won Yukon’s first-ever team medal at the national Games and came away with three individual medals as well.

Carrie Rudolph, Garry Chaplin, Hayley Halushka, Lisa Bachli and Tyler Repka won silver in the team event. Chaplin and Halushka then took silvers, and Repka a bronze, in the individual competitions.

Golfer Jean-Sebastien Gallant faced a tough course but improved his score every day in Vancouver.

The 22-year-old carded 73, 62 and a 57 in three nine-hole rounds on his way to fifth in his division.

“He was tied for second the second day and then the other golfers pulled up their socks,” said Yukon golf coach Charlene Donald.

“It was a tough course, very narrow, lots of sand,” she added. “He saw the bunkers a few times. The sand traps are so deep and have huge lips on them and we’re just not used to that.

“He did very well to get out of them so easily.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wyatt's World for Oct. 28, 2020.
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Oct. 28.… Continue reading

Yukon Child Care Board chair Amy Ryder says the board could be playing a bigger role in childcare policy making if they had more financial support from the Yukon government. (Submitted)
Yukon Child Care Board asks for larger role in annual report

The board is asking for a larger budget to increase outreach and advice

Yukon’s clocks will no longer change in March and November but will remain permanently on Pacific Daylight Saving Time. (Courtesy Yukon government)
Off the clock: Yukon prepares to end seasonal time changes

Starting on Nov. 1 Yukon will be one hour ahead of Vancouver and two hours ahead of Alaska

Dawson City as scene from West Dawson. Art Webster, the vice-chair of the Dawson Regional Planning Commission resigned last month over the Yukon governments unwillingness to pause speculative staking. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Vice-chair resigns from Dawson land-use planning commission

NDP warns that not pausing mining activity is the road to a second Peel decision

The opening ceremonies of the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg on July 28, 2017. The 2021 Canada Summer Games have officially been rescheduled for Aug. 6 to 21, 2022, exactly one year from the date the national competition was originally set to take place in the Niagara region of Ontario. (Canada Summer Games/Flickr)
Canada Summer Games dates set for 2022 but uncertainty remains for Yukon athletes

Yukon athletes continue waiting to get back into schools

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council passed first reading on a bylaw for the designation change at its Oct. 26 meeting, prompting an upcoming public hearing on Nov. 23 ahead of second reading on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Local contractors will be given an advantage on a contract for the design and construction services that will see a new reception building at Robert Service Campground decided city councillors during the Oct. 26 council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local firms will get advantage on contract for new Robert Service Campground building

Yukon-based companies competing for contract for new reception building will receive 20 extra points

Fallen trees due to strong winds are seen leaning on to power lines which caused some power outages around the territory on Oct. 26. (Courtesy of ATCO)
Wind knocks out power around the Yukon

High winds on Oct. 26 knocked out power to Faro, parts of Whitehorse and beyond

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read