Rhythmic gymnast Alison McKee of SOBC – Victoria receiving one of the three medals she won at the 2014 Games.
In the fantastic final day of competition at the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games, Team BC members displayed outstanding achievements and sportsmanship that led Chef de Mission Shawn Fevens to call July 12 “a spectacular day for B.C.”
Among the exciting results on Super Saturday, Team BC squads topped the A division in all team sports and excelled in the finals for two of the three new National Games sports, with the four basketball teams and three bocce squads all earning medals – two gold and two bronze for basketball; one of each colour in bocce. They enter the history books as B.C.’s first-ever National Games medallists in these sports, alongside the seven golfers who medalled Friday in the first Special Olympics Canada Games golf event.
As a group, Team BC earned 288 medals (click here for the results table) and delivered so many personal bests and outstanding team performances that thrilled their coaches, fans, families, and team staff.
“We raised expectations to a whole new level, and these guys met them,” Fevens said. “We left our mark on Vancouver 2014.”
Read on for the roundup of Team BC’s final results achieved on Friday and Saturday (July 11 and 12) to close the 2014 National Games with pride!
BC Grizzlies gold
BC Dynamite silver
The BC Grizzlies rolled to gold in the A division with a well-fought 15-3 win over Nova Scotia in their gold-medal match Saturday morning. “That was so exciting!” coach Dennis Richardson said as the hardworking players celebrated on the field. Head Coach Lorena Mead felt the same delight: “Holy moly!” was the quick post-game reaction.
The win completed the Grizzlies’ impressive undefeated run in the tournament! They opened competition play with a 15-6 win over Ontario and cemented their spot in the gold-medal game with a 12-0 victory over Nova Scotia.
The BC Dynamite turned on the heat late in their D division competition round, winning their final two games on Friday by a collective score of 22-9 to propel themselves into Saturday’s gold-medal game. This team of enthusiastic Special Olympics BC – Langley, Victoria, and Abbotsford athletes captured silver as Alberta ended their winning run with a 14-4 loss in the gold-medal game.
After going undefeated in competition play with a 2-0-1 record, Team BC’s soccer squad was poised to play hard in their gold-medal match against Newfoundland on Super Saturday, and they did not disappoint. Veteran player Bryce Schaufelberger gave an inspiring pre-game speech that helped energize and focus his teammates, and then went out and scored two goals, one on a penalty and one springing loose from a defender, to lead his teammates from SOBC – Mission, Victoria, and Surrey to a 2-0 win.
Keeper Mitchell Howell stood tall in goal and preserved the shutout, while players like forward Justin King (pictured above right) and defender Tony Carter seemed to be everywhere on the field. Teammate Amanda Peebles, she of the ace corner kicking and steady presence, got a great birthday present with her team’s gold-medal win.
Chef de Mission Fevens also received a gift as the team’s win meant Newfoundland’s Chef de Mission had to wear a Team BC shirt to the Games Closing Ceremony!
10 gold, 13 silver, 18 bronze
This outstanding group of dedicated athletes has grown so much through their Team BC training and delivered simply outstanding performances. They thrilled everyone who had the pleasure of watching their skillful and poised routines.
“They stuck everything, they listened to all the instructions, and they kept getting better,” rhythmic gymnastics mission staff Barb Tull said.
See the joy on the face of medallist Joanna Morris of SOBC – Kelowna as she received her first National Games gold medal (pictured above right) and watch Shaw TV Okanagan’s feature on her dedication and hard work.
15 gold, 3 silver
Team BC’s powerlifters shone in their day of competition Wednesday, winning 18 medals and setting five personal bests. “They were on their game. Everyone was focused right from the get-go,” coach Ken Saunders said.
“I felt great, I really did. I felt proud and did my hardest for my coach and myself and the rest of British Columbia, to prove to B.C. that we’re all one together,” said powerlifter Will Richardson of Special Olympics BC – Kelowna, who deadlifted a personal-best of more than 400 pounds.
Powerlifter Todd Moore of SOBC – Abbotsford achieved two personal-best lifts in his bench press and deadlift, earned three gold medals, and impressed everyone with his spirit and strength despite his more slight stature. Moore said he felt “awesome” when his three gold medals were being placed around his neck.
After their competitions wrapped, Team BC’s powerlifters were a valued presence cheering on their teammates throughout the rest of the Games.
3 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze
Nellie-Jo Kurta of SOBC – Vancouver is a multi-sport athlete who has been participating in Special Olympics since 1991. Since joining golf and powerlifting, she has made significant changes in her life. “I’ve changed my diet completely. I’ve changed everything,” she said. In addition to improving her health and working on her physical fitness with Club Fit, Kurta has worked very hard in her golf training over the last year and dedicated herself to improving her scores, with great support from her Team BC and SOBC – Vancouver coaches as well as professionals at her home course, Musqueam Golf.
Even so, Kurta never thought she would win gold in her first National Games in her 23 years as a Special Olympics athlete. So it was a special moment when she received her gold medal in the golf F2 division, and the emotions shone through on her face.
“Outstanding. Ecstatic,” Kurta said of her feelings when she received that hard-earned medal (pictured at right). “My first Nationals, I never expected to do as well as I did. I’m flabbergasted. … I never thought I would win. I knew I did my ultimate, but I didn’t think I would win.”
Kurta was one of seven Team BC athletes to medal in the first-ever National Games golf event. She struck gold along with Kyle Grummett of SOBC – Kelowna, the tournament’s top-scoring golfer, and Yves Moskaluke of SOBC – Nanaimo, who topped the M2 division.
1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze
The first-ever National Games bocce competition delivered plenty of excitement throughout the tournament, and the action got especially intense with medals on the line.
The BC Bocce Pirates started Super Saturday with by winning B.C.’s first-ever National Games bocce medal, capturing bronze in a comeback thriller. The team fought back from being down 10-2 to seesaw the lead and eventually clinch an 18-13 victory for bronze in the Apple Division.
“I really feel excited,” Ariel Eastland of the Bocce Pirates said after the big win. Though this was her first National Games, she said she didn’t nervous in the games, and was delighted with the final result. “My parents are going to be so proud!”
The BC High Rollers followed in their footsteps, bowling through a nailbiting back-and-forth game to win 16-13 and claim B.C.’s first-ever National Games bocce gold in the Apple Division. The BC Ball Busters closed out the tournament with another first by snapping up silver in the Banana Division.
2 gold, 2 bronze
All four Team BC basketball squads medalled in the first-ever Special Olympics Canada Games basketball event. The tournament provided outstanding action and displays of sportsmanship throughout, and the drama was especially high on Super Saturday.
The first Team BC basketball win of the day came from the BC Adanacs, who battled hard in their bronze-medal match with the Regina Wildcats, leading the whole way and coming away with the bronze. Kyle McLaughlin of SOBC – Coquitlam, one of the nicest and most energetic athletes in the tournament, scored the winning points.
The Adanacs entered the tournament expecting to be placed in the C division, but rose to the challenge of the B division and came away medallists. They created many great moments along the way – from 56-year-old Richard Niesman of SOBC – Ridge Meadows hustling and playing his heart out, to the first point scored by Adanacs player David Shoring of SOBC – North Shore (he of the outstanding dance skills) where he sunk a free throw under Head Coach Greg Bodin’s instruction and leaped onto Bodin with a full-body hug in celebration.
The next Team BC basketball medal game was another cardiac challenge, as the BC Eagles fought their way to A division bronze by winning in double overtime against Nova Scotia! “That was insane. Both teams had so many chances to put it away, and neither did!” player Billy Peterson said en route to the Games Closing Ceremony. Head Coach Geoff Uttley noted the Eagles beat Nova Scotia in the round robin but lost to them in divisioning play, so they were confident going in but know “we had to fight for it.”
The first Team BC basketball gold medal was earned by the BC Grizzlies, who completed their undefeated tournament by winning a 12-11 thriller over Ontario’s Lasalle Spirit in the B division gold-medal match. SOBC – Vancouver athlete Shane Carr, pictured at left receiving his gold medal with the Grizzlies, is known for his exceptional talents and sportsmanship on the court. Read his sister’s moving story of what playing in the National Games means to Carr.
The BC Warriors closed the first-ever National Games basketball event by surging to gold in the A division with a hard-fought 20-14 win over Manitoba’s talented and sportsmanlike D’Bears team. Langley’s Sean Annan, sidelined by injury, was much missed and saluted throughout the tournament by the BC teams and many opponents, with Annan’s number 7 written on shoulders and his name chanted at many opportunities. “I did this for my brother and for #7,” Warriors player Alastair Singh said post-game. “We have a strong team.”
20 gold, 19 silver, 21 bronze, tons of PBs
Among the many amazing moments created by Team BC in the track and field events, one of several standouts was Stephan Schoeller’s face when he knew he had struck gold in his 200m sprint (pictured). The SOBC – North Shore athlete had raced hard in the 400m but missed out on a silver medal due to a lane violation, but then regrouped to run an explosive 200m race that ended in a four-person photo finish.
When Schoeller saw the result sheet saying 200m gold was his, he shared an overjoyed embrace with coach Tom Norton. The race experience was intense and induced extremely rare tears, Schoeller said.
“I was just – boom. I was fired up. When I was seated [marshalling for the race], my legs were twitching. After the race, Tom had to help me – I could not walk. It was full adrenaline from the get-go,” Schoeller said.
Another gentlemanly Team BC athletics competitor, Robert Burns of SOBC – Comox Valley, created a remarkable picture on one podium as the 61-year-old B.C. athlete shared it with a 13-year-old from Ontario. Burns earned two gold medals in the 50m run and shot put, and leaped to bronze in the standing long jump.
Overall, substantial improvements were shown throughout Team BC’s time on the track. Many of the athletes found themselves racing in higher divisions and finishing out of the medals; Team BC is very proud of their improvements to their times and abilities. Among the time improvement highlights were Jeneka Greif of SOBC – Kelowna, winner of three Games gold medals, who posted a 400m race time that was a full five seconds faster than her heat time, while Ethan Mountain of SOBC – Surrey flew to gold in his 200m race with a personal-best time of 00:27.41 that knocked four seconds off his heat time. Mountain also earned silver in the 400m, bronze in long jump, and two sixth-place results.
45 gold, 38 silver, 34 bronze
Despite their many medals, the math wound up being pretty simple for the aquatics team: 53 personal-best times = two coaches shaving their heads! On Super Saturday, Travis Chastkavich of SOBC – Burnaby joined fellow coach Collin Berdusco in letting the team shave his head to pay tribute to the outstanding number of personal-best times they posted.
Swimmer Trisha Boyle of SOBC – Langley helped Head Coach Heather Young give Chastkavich his new ’do, a position earned by her quiet confidence throughout the event that helped keep everyone calm, Young said.
The team spirit demonstrated by this group was truly fantastic, including the generosity of SOBC – Penticton’s Avery Newton, who swam to five gold medals and also distributed more than handmade 300 orange bracelets she created for all the members of Team BC, which were gratefully received.
13 gold, 5 silver, 6 bronze
Four days of excellent bowling and some truly phenomenal scores were capped by trips to the podium for a significant number of Team BC 5-pin bowlers. Among the teams that posted outstanding game scores were the Summerland squad that notched a combined score of 928, with a turkey by Summerland’s Carl Richard (pictured at right) and two chickens by Lydia Richards of SOBC – Kamloops, and the Quesnel Rollers who bowled a combined 915. More 5-pin highlights
When the balls finished rolling, there were many proud Team BC medallists.
4 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze
This dedicated group of 20 athletes shot to greatness at The Zone Bowling Centre in Richmond, led by veterans such as SOBC – Vancouver’s Annabelle Davis, a steady and skilled athlete who delivered a personal-best score with three rounds within two points of each other, and pulled a silver medal in her individual medal as well as achieving team gold.
The team had a wealth of high-quality characters, such as Linda Renner of SOBC – Prince George, who was the target of some teasing from opponents and decided to show them with her play, bowling a score that blew her personal best out of the water and
Karalyn Summer of SOBC – Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo’s Crystal Thompson were a dynamic duo, winning doubles gold together, team gold with Davis and Coquitlam’s Richard McDonald, and individual gold and bronze respectively.
Congratulations to all the outstanding Team BC athletes, coaches, and mission staff who worked so hard and achieved greatness in their home-province National Games!