This week’s Special Olympics World Winter Games marks the first time three Yukon athletes have at competed at a worlds.
It’s going to be a tough one to top.
All three Yukoners — figure skaters Michael Sumner and Tijana McCarthy, and cross-country skier Ernest Chua — have won a medal with more competition to come at the Games in Austria.
In fact, Chua, who is competing at his first worlds, has two medals so far. The 26-year-old captured gold in the 500-metre freestyle race on March 23. He finished with a time of 3:01.20, six seconds ahead of the silver medalist from Austria.
“Ernest Chua is having a great World Games experience,” said Team Canada’s cross-country head coach Hellaina Rothenburg. “His skiing is steady despite challenging conditions. It was a highlight to see him make a great contribution to the 4×1-kilometre co-ed relay team that took a silver medal.
“Ernest is enjoying all aspects of (the) Games: pin trading with athletes from other nations, enjoying Austrian menus, and being part of Team Canada Nordic.”
Chua also collected a silver medal in the 4×1-kilometre co-ed relay on March 22. He and Canadian teammates Jacqueline Gravel, Allie Libertini Canada and Dennis Lynch took the medal with a time of 28:13.10.
Chua opened the Games with a fourth place finish in the one-kilometre free technique on March 21. He was just three and a half seconds from the bronze.
McCarthy, 19, who is also competing at her first worlds, picked up a silver medal in the figure skating singles competition on March 21.
Sumner made it two in a row this week. The 20-year-old won silver in his skating singles competition, matching his finish at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in South Korea — his first world championship.
All three Yukoners were selected for Team Canada following gold medal wins at the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Corner Brook, N.L.
The 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games, which has about 3,000 athletes from 110 countries, will finish on March 25.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org