Team Yukon collected 74 medals at the Canada 55+ Games last week.
The national event held in Kamloops, British Columbia, wrapped up with closing ceremonies on Aug. 26 after four days of events in 26 disciplines. About 200 Yukoners competed.
Close to half of the Yukon’s medals were won in track and field events, with 35 medal wins.
Hank Leenders and Dave Boschman each walked away with two medals in the 80-84 category on the track and another two in field events. Leenders took silver in both the 50 m and 100 m dash and javelin along with a bronze in shot put. Boschman was just behind him on the track, taking a bronze in each of those runs, while also earning a silver in long jump on the field.
Boschman, 81, went into the Games not anticipating a medal win, having only taken up running five years earlier at the age of 76.
As Boschman explained in an Aug. 30 interview, when he decided he wanted to take part in the next Canada 55+ Games , he thought he’d try something new and gave track and field a try. He had previously attended the Games in 2014, representing the territory in carpet bowling.
He described the Yukon as being “kind of exceptional”, highlighting the work of the committee, mission staff in organizing the Yukon contingent as well as government support to attend the Games. The red and black Yukon uniforms also make it easy to pick teammates out in a crowd, which adds to the social aspect of the Games, as team members can spot one another out and about during the Games.
Of course, Team Yukon also brings with it a certain enthusiasm.
“We’re the noisiest and have the most fun,” he said with a smile.
Boschman went on to highlight the accomplishments of others representing the Yukon in track and field, noting the +30 C conditions he and others faced during the competion.
In the 70-74 men’s category Don White brought home a silver in the 3000 m run with Bryan Craven taking four medals in the 65—69 men’s category: silver in the 800 m and 3000 m runs, bronze in the 400 m dash and 1500 m run. Tom Ullyett also brought home a bronze in the 3000 m run, in the 60-64 men’s category.
Also on the track, in the 55+ predicted walk, Jim Howard was awarded gold and silver for the 400m and 1000m respectively.
In women’s track events, Brenda Dion won two gold in the 65-69 women’s category in the 50 m dash and 100 m dash, while Donna Jones won four silver medals in the same group in the 200 m dash, 400 m dash, 800 m dash and 1500 m run. Sheila Senger brought home gold in the 75-79 50 m dash and silver in the 100 m dash.
In predicted walk, Marg White won a gold and silver while Sharyl Satchell was awarded bronze.
Along with Leenders and Boschman’s medals in the field events, Tom Parlee took bronze in the long jump, javelin and shot put for the 75-79 men’s category,
In the 55-59 men’s category, Jeffery Mackie-Deernsted was awarded a bronze in men’s shotput.
In the women’s competition, Dion took home a gold in long jump and a silver in javelin in the women’s 65-69 category.
Finally, in the 5 km women’s run under a blazing sun, Dion raced to a bronze and Christine Cash finished with a silver in the 55-59 category.
Complementing the strong medal count in track and field were 15 medals in swim events going to the Yukon.
Three Yukon women each brought home four medals, with Barbara Adel and Paul Warner also adding to the medal count in swimming.
For Barb Phillips, three of those medals were gold and one silver in the 80-84 women’s category. She took the top spot in both the 50 m and 100 m breaststroke as well as the 100 m IM, with a silver finish in the 50 m backstroke.
In the 65-69 women’s category, it was Jennifer Trapnell and Vickie Roche on the podium for the territory. Trapnell took gold in the 100 breaststroke and 100 m freestyle with silver finishes in the 50 m freestyle and 50 m breaststroke. Roche walked away two gold in the 100 m IM and the 50 m butterfly, a silver in the 50 m backstroke and a bronze in the 50 m freestyle.
Joining Trapnell on the podium in the 100m freestyle was Adel who brought a silver medal home to the territory.
Finally, taking two bronze medals in the 50 m backstroke and 50 m breaststroke in the 75-79 men’s category was Paul Warner.
Podium finishes were also realized for the territory in darts, bridge, cycling, 5-pin bowling, Pickleball (which featured cabinet minister John Streicker as part of the Yukon contingent), carpet bowling, golf, horseshoes, scrabble and shuffleboard.
Mountain biking and dragon boating were hosted as demonstration sports this year with the Yukon fielding athletes in both. Christine Cash placed third and Rosh Govindasamy fourth in the women’s 18-kilomentre long course event for mountain biking, while Rosemary Plaskett placed third and Lindy-Jo Aston sixth in the women’s 12-km short course. The territory also had second and third place finishes in the combined women open event in mountain biking and seventh through 10th spots in the relay.
In dragon boating, the Yukon came out on top in its 1000 m race against the Midnight Son Strokers. The team was defeated in 500 m and 200 m races.
Success for Team Yukon wasn’t just in competition. Yukoner Darrell Peters, who took a bronze in 5-pin bowling, was also awarded a gold for exceptional sportsmanship.
“But medals are just one of the reasons Yukoners sign up for the 55+ Games,” Team Yukon said in a statement. “Every Yukoner participating in Kamloops spoke enthusiastically about the shared laughter, the fantastic team spirit, the pleasure of meeting others from across Canada and the fun of participating. This is the true spirit of the 55+ Games.”
The Games are held in late August, typically every two years (though the 2020 Games for Kamloops were postponed to 2022 due to COVID-19) with a focus on social, physical and psychological well-being, as its noted on the Games website.
“The Games offers opportunities for enrichment, fulfilment and improved quality of life provided by participation in a broad variety of athletic, recreational and social events,” organizers said. “Although the very nature of the Games is to declare a winner, or winners, the aspect of winning is secondary to the social side related to reuniting with friends from Games past.”
As organizers pointed out, the Games ended on that important social side with an impromptu sing-a-long kitchen party as well as the closing ceremonies.
“We had a lot of fun,” Brosch said.
As someone who likes to keep active, Brosch said he’ll be turning his attention to hiking and enjoying the outdoors before the colder winter weather hits.
Trois Riveriere, Quebec is set to host the next Canada 55+ Games in 2024 with many Team Yukon participants looking forward to making the journey east in two years.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at email@example.com