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Kamloops  

Special Olympics wrap up

The Thompson-Okanagan was the backdrop for the 2015 Special Olympics BC Winter Games, held this year in Kamloops and at Sun Peaks Resort.

Competitors from around B.C. and the Yukon took part in seven sports and earned more than 350 medals during the three-day event ending Feb. 21.

“I think Kamloops was a great place to have the games,” said Langley athlete Matthew Williams.

“There’s people that have hosted big events before and really understand the impact that Special Olympics can have on a community level, and I think they’ve really put a lot of time and effort into making sure that we have the right facilities and accommodations so we could be at our best.”

And he would know. Williams is an accomplished speed skater who took home four gold medals

“We were thrilled to see the powerful way our Games athletes were welcomed and celebrated in Kamloops. They were treated like athletes, with outstanding competitive venues, enthusiastic and well-trained officials and volunteers, and media coverage,” said SOBC president Dan Howe.

“And we heard a wonderful response from those who generously came out to volunteer and the sponsors who supported the games. As much as these athletes were inspired by the games, they inspired so many others.”

After training countless hours over the past two years to reach the provincial games, athletes were well prepared to make the most of the opportunity to show their abilities in a world-class sport hosting community. Many won medals and achieved personal bests, which allowed them to grow as individuals.

The games featured 600 athletes competing in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing, and speed skating. They were also competing for the chance to advance to the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, a qualifier for the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria.

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