Yukon Special Olympians on cloud nine after medal wins at worlds

Yukon Special Olympians returned home from the Special Olympics World Winter Games last week in Austria with memories and new friendships that will last a lifetime.

Yukon Special Olympians returned home from the Special Olympics World Winter Games last week in Austria with memories and new friendships that will last a lifetime.

And let’s not forgot about the medals.

All three Yukon athletes — figure skaters Michael Sumner and Tijana McCarthy, and cross-country skier Ernest Chua — collected hardware at the Games that wrapped up on March 25.

“We can tell he is super happy, super proud of his own achievement,” said Chua’s mom Shirley Chua-Tan in an email to the News. “He wants to wear both his medals all the time to tell the world that he won.”

Chua, who was competing at his first worlds, has plenty of reason to show off his hardware.

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.

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 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.

A common characteristic of top athletes is confidence. Sumner fits that mould.

“It went pretty well. (I’m) second in the world still,” said Sumner. “I knew I was going to get silver.”

Sumner made it two in a row last week. The 20-year-old won silver in his singles skating competition, matching his finish at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in South Korea — his first world championship.

In 2013 he competed in Level 1, last week he competed in Level 2.

“It was a harder competition,” said Sumner. “It was an amazing experience as always. The world came together again.”

His standout moment: “Standing on the podium again and defending my silver medal,” said Sumner. “(And) meeting new people and cheering on people from Canada.”

McCarthy who was also competing at her first worlds, picked up a silver medal in the figure skating singles competition on March 21.

“I’m very happy,” said McCarthy, adding she feels she performed to the best of her abilities.

The 19-year-old said the Games were fun and she was excited to compete. She especially enjoyed making new friends and dancing.

Speaking of which, McCarthy picked up a second silver medal in a dance contest that took place as a demonstration sport. She danced to Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake.

When asked what was her favourite thing about the Games, she said Team Canada skating coach Barb Trystai.

“She was really nice,” said McCarthy.

“Thank you Barb and thank you Michelle (Semaschuk, a Special Olympics Yukon coach),” she added.

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.

Last week marked first time three Yukon athletes have at competed together at a Special Olympics World Games, which featured 3,000 athletes from 110 countries.

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

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. On Nov. 24, Silver and Hanley announced masks will be mandatory in public places as of Dec. 1, and encouraged Yukoners to begin wearing masks immediately. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read