Yukoners win six medals at Senior Games

Three Whitehorse athletes competed at the 25th annual World Senior Games last week in St. George, Utah, and none left empty-handed. Cyclists Michael McCann and Bill Curtis, and athletics competitor Tom Parlee, collected a total of six medals.

Three Whitehorse athletes competed at the 25th annual World Senior Games last week in St. George, Utah, and none left empty-handed.

Cyclists Michael McCann and Bill Curtis, and athletics competitor Tom Parlee, collected a total of six medals.

“Over the last two or three years, I’ve managed to come back with two or three medals each time,” said McCann, who was making his 12th appearance at the Games.

This year was no different.

Competing in expert men’s 60-64 division, McCann finished his stay in Utah winning gold in a 62-kilometre road race on Friday, crossing the finish line one second ahead of second place at one hour, 45 minutes and 27 seconds. McCann, who won two silvers at the 2010 Games, had to withdraw from the road race with a broken derailleur last summer.

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“It’s a very difficult course; it climbs for about three quarters of it,” said McCann. “It’s climbing, climbing, and then the last third of the race is a lot of fast downhill. On the one big downhill, which is about a five-kilometre stretch … there were six of us at the front going down this big downhill. I was approaching 78 kilometres an hour on the downhill, was going around the bends, so it was kind of exciting.”

McCann also won a silver in the 40-kilometre individual time trial after winning a bronze in the hill climb at the start of the week. With Yukon’s cycling season long over by the start of the Games, it’s not unusual for results to improve with each race.

“I think what we always struggle with is there’s quite a gap between our last races (in Whitehorse) and our first races in St. George,” said McCann. “It’s almost six weeks, so it takes a little bit of time to get back into racing mode.”

Curtis, cycling in men’s 55-59 Division 2, also finished with his best result, capturing bronze in the road race at 1:56:45, surpassing his previous personal best time for the distance by over four minutes.

“There are a lot of fast old farts down there,” said Curtis. “Out of 55 riders, there were 25 that broke an hour – that broke 60 minutes for 40 kilometres.

“It was a really good way to end the season: to have two really good rides, to finish off and go, ‘That was good, all that training paid off.’”

Curtis, who won a bronze last year at the Games, also took sixth in the hill climb and fourth in the 40-kilometre time trial at 1:06:50 last week.

“The competition seems to get stiffer every year,” said Curtis. “It’s a great event to go to – it’s inspiring. Just when you’re feeling down about your own abilities, you go down there and you see these 70-75 (year-olds) – even a 90-year-old – competing, and you go, ‘Wow, I’ve got another 20, 30 years to go yet.’ The skill level of these 50- to 80-year-olds is great to see.”

Competing in men’s 60-64 years division, Parlee captured a silver in the shot put, throwing 9.79 metres, and a bronze in the discus, reaching 32.66 metres. He also finished sixth in the javelin at 25.62 metres.

Parlee, who could not be reached for comment, won three medals at the 2010 Canada 55+ Games in Brockville, Ontario.

McCann, unlike Curtis, also competed in a criterium race at the old St. George airport on Thursday. Cycling down one runway and up another, with the taxiways completing the loop, heavy winds forced racers to pay close attention to their competitors or risk being dropped.

“The wind was blowing about 40 miles an hour straight down the runway, so we’d come up into the wind, go around and we were going about 58 kilometres an hour down the back runway,” said McCann, who didn’t finish. “With that kind of scenario, you had to be really astute to be in the right position when you come back around into the wind with the group. If you allow any type of gap to happen, you’re toast.

“I have never been accused of being astute. On the fifth lap I got behind this guy and I realized he had fallen off the main group. So I went around him into the wind and there was no way I was going to catch this group.”

Overall placements for the cycling had not been calculated by the Huntsman Games by press time.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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