Yukoners capture medals at Americas Masters Games

Yukon athletes walked, ran and threw for hardware at a massive international event last week.

Yukon athletes walked, ran and threw for hardware at a massive international event last week.

Brenda Dion, Bonnie Love and John Storms all won medals at the inaugural Americas Masters Games in Vancouver, which saw over 5,000 athletes from 52 countries compete in 24 sports.

“It was nice to go to an event like that where there were a number of competitors in my own age group,” said Love. “Often we go to events and there’s not a lot of competition, so it was really good. All the people I raced against were Canadian and a few I met a few times before, so it was quite fun to get together with this group of people.”

Love and Storms both collected gold in the 5,000-metre race walk. Storms won the men’s 55 division at 29:35.39 and Love the women’s 55 division at 37:16.81.

“It’s not my very best, but I’m happy with it,” said Love. “It’s always stressful racing with the judges watching so closely, so I’m quite OK with that time.”

Storms also topped the 10-kilometre race walk for a second gold. It was his third gold of the summer with another at the Ontario Masters in July.

Dion, however, has collected the most hardware of all Yukon masters athletes this summer.

She won four medals at both the B.C. Masters and Canadian Masters before leading Team Yukon with six gold at the Canada 55+ Games in Brampton, Ont., two weeks ago.

She added two more to the bunch last week in Vancouver.

“I trained a lot this summer so I wanted to do a whole bunch of events,” said Dion. “I wanted to do a provincial, a national and an international and that’s what I did. I retired this year, so that why I had a little more time to do that.”

Dion, who competed in women’s 55, won silver in the 4×100-metre relay with some other Canadian runners. She also took silver in the discus, throwing 18.87 metres, and was the top Canadian. She placed second behind Utah’s Gale Grover, who threw 35.12 metres.

“The level of competition is quite high. A lot of the people who come to these Games are really strong masters athletes. The woman I competed against in the discus was a world record holder,” said Dion. “Her throw was twice as far as mine. She was in a different league than the rest of us. It was amazing to watch her.”

Dion also placed fourth in javelin (just six centimeters behind the bronze winner), fifth in the long jump and fifth in the 100-metre dash.

“Some times there haven’t been that many people in my category, and that happened at the B.C. and Canadian (Games), but it did not happen at the Americans,” said Dion.

Dion won a bronze in javelin at the 2013 World Masters Games in Italy and plans to compete at the 2017 worlds next April in New Zealand.

Yukon curlers didn’t manage didn’t manage to sweep up a medal, but did log some wins. The territory was represented by a men’s team and a women’s team that also combined into two mixed teams.

The men’s team, led by skip Ray Mikkelsen, won their first two games — beating N.W.T. and B.C. — before dropping three straight.

The two mixed teams went 3-3 and 3-2 in the triple elimination tournament. Yukon’s women’s rink with skip Darlene Gammel went winless.

“(Athletics Yukon head coach Don White) worked with us tons this year,” said Dion. “He was out there five days a week with us for the B.C. Games and then the 55+, so a lot of credit goes to Don and the time that he spent teaching us about all of these events. I’m sure none of us could have gotten these medals without Don’s help.”

“We’re always looking for more, to take more people out to these Games,” she added.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com