Yukon Special Olympian named to Team Canada for worlds

Whitehorse's Darby McIntyre has competed for Yukon at a national Games. Next summer he'll represent Canada on the world stage.

Whitehorse’s Darby McIntyre has competed for Yukon at a national Games. Next summer he’ll represent Canada on the world stage.

McIntyre has been named to Team Canada for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games next July in Los Angeles, Calif., Special Olympics Canada announced Tuesday.

“I was excited and I’m looking forward to going because sports are lots of fun,” said McIntyre. “I’m going for athletics, so what I’m looking forward to is track running. I’m looking forward to doing the training and going to Los Angeles.”

McIntyre will represent Canada in both track and field events in Los Angeles. He will compete in the 5,000-metre and 1,500-metre, plus the shot put and standing long jump.

The 14-year-old was the youngest member of Team Yukon at the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games this past July in Vancouver, B.C.

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

“It’s fantastic news,” said Janine Peters, Yukon chef de mission at the Vancouver Games. “He definitely worked super hard to get where he is. Lots of hard training. I just can’t say enough about him. For someone so young to go so far, that’s pretty amazing.”

McIntyre earned his spot at nationals with a stellar performance the previous summer at the Special Olympics British Columbia Summer Games where he won gold in the standing long jump and the 5,000-metre. He also nabbed silver in shot put and bronze in the 1,500-metre, and was the overall winner for his division.

McIntyre is fast on snow as well. He competed for Yukon at the 2014 Arctic Winter Games and won two bronze medals in snowshoeing.

The Vanier Catholic Secondary student will attend a Team Canada training camp in Caledon, Ont., northwest of Toronto, at the end of October.

“I’m going to train there and going to train with my two coaches, (Athletics Yukon’s) Don White and (Special Olympics Yukon’s) Carmen Gustafson,” said McIntyre. “Don White, in the winter, is going to get me out snowshoeing.”

McIntyre will be just the second Yukoner to compete at the Special Olympics World Summer Games. The first was Tyler Repka at the 1983 Games in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Numerous athletes from Special Olympics Yukon have competed at the World Winter Games. Most recently was Michael Sumner, who won a silver in figure skating at the 2013 Games in South Korea.

McIntyre is one of 115 athletes Canada is sending to next summer’s Games, making it the largest team the country has ever sent to the worlds.

The Games will see performances by 7,000 athletes, with 3,000 coaches, from over 177 countries. With 30,000 volunteers helping, the Games will be the largest in Los Angeles since the city hosted the 1984 Olympic Summer Games.

In addition to athletics and snowshoeing, McIntyre enjoys hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, shinny hockey and swimming.

“Sports are worth it because they make you healthy and they make you strong,” said McIntyre. “Basically with each sport, I know I’m getting stronger.”

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