Zach Bell visits hometown of Watson Lake

Olympic cyclist Zach Bell was back on his old stomping ground on Monday. It is his first trip to the Yukon since competing at the London Olympics in August.

Olympic cyclist Zach Bell was back on his old stomping ground on Monday.

It is his first trip to the Yukon since competing at the London Olympics in August.

It was Bell’s first visit to his hometown of Watson Lake since shortly after his first Olympic journey at the 2008 Beijing Games.

“I am very excited to finally be able to reach the next generation of kids growing up in Watson Lake,” said Bell in a news release. “I want to help them see all the things that sport can bring to their lives, even in a small community like Watson Lake. It has been many, many years since I have been able to be back and this will be the first time since I have been competitive in cycling that I will make my way there. This community made me who I am and they have always been behind the things I have been doing as much as possible. I hope this can be the start of me helping to return so much of that goodwill.”

Bell, who now lives in Vancouver, spent Monday visiting the Watson Lake schools, meeting with students, giving talks and participating in phys-ed classes.

“This trip is a return to my roots and that is what I want the kids of the community to see. I plan to give a message and then join right in with their active daily routine. I know when I was growing up having an Olympian join my floor hockey game would have been the greatest thing ever.

“I want these kids to understand it is normal people with humble upbringings that make up the Olympic Team, go on to race for teams like SpiderTech, and travel the world just because they stayed involved in sport. It will also be a good way for me to get back to my job of delivering that message of sport and what it can do to change communities.”

Bell, who turned 30 two weeks ago, will be in Whitehorse for the Sport Yukon Awards Night on Thursday at the Whitehorse Westmark Hotel. He is nominated for International Male Athlete of the Year, an award he won three straight times between 2008 and 2010.

At the London Games, Bell placed eighth in the men’s omnium track cycling event. His best result in the six-race omnium was a first-place finish in the 15-kilometre scratch race.

He earned Canada’s spot at the Games in the men’s omnium with a silver-medal performance at the 2012 UCI Track World Championships in April, placing one spot ahead of the eventual Olympic gold medal winner.

Cycling for his Canadian team, SpiderTech, Bell won the Challenge Sprint Pro this past September in Quebec City.

Bell’s visit to the Yukon is also his first since the death of his infant son Paxton Michael Bell on Oct. 16, just three days after birth. In the latter stages of the delivery the umbilical cord stopped providing Paxton with essential nutrients including oxygen, causing severe trauma to the brain.

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

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Most Read