The Okanagan track contingent, which included four Vernon athletes, helped with the medal haul from the Special Olympics B.C. Summer Games in Kamloops. Team members included (back, from left): Sue Foisy (mission staff), Sydney Hofer (coach), Nic Cadham (Kelowna), Garrison Frost (Kelowna), Eric Antypowich (Kelowna), Steven Schwebbach (Vernon). Front (from left): Colby Bell (Vernon), Kyle Borden (Vernon), Samantha Mayer (Kelowna), Elizabeth Isbister (Vernon), Cheryl Friesen (head coach), Janny Jung (coach). (photo submitted)

Special Olympians pile up medals

Vernon athletes all bring home medals from largest Special Olympics B.C. Summer Games on record

Vernon athletes left their marks at the largest Special Olympics B.C. Summer Games on record.

Nearly 1,200 individuals with intellectual disabilities gave their all in 11 sports and inspired everyone watching at the Games, held in Kamloops.

Each of the Special Olympics B.C. – Vernon athletes that competed came home with a top-three finish and a medal.

In swimming, Glen Fraser won gold in the 50m freestyle in his division, while Christy Jewell took first in the 25m back in her division. Joey Lemp (50m free) and Lexie Van Oyen (50m back) won silver medals in their events. Vernon’s Lisa Jeffries was part of the coaching staff.

In powerlifting pull up, Vernon’s Steven Linemayr and Corey Sturgeon both placed first in their respective classes. Glen Schwebbach of Vernon was a coach.

On the track, Colby Bell won gold in the shotput, added silver in the 200-metres and bronze in the mini javelin. Kyle Borden won gold in mini javelin and took bronze in the running long jump.

Elizabeth Isbister won gold in mini javelin, and Steven Schwebbach won gold in the 100-metres and bronze in the running long jump. Vernon coaches inclucdes Cheryl Friesen, Janny Jung and Sydney Hofer.

Softball athletes Hunter Ashby, Jeremiah (Jay) Brooke, Rob Brown, Marcus Carberry, Gord Cole, Len Ferguson, Carl Hoath, Al Bifford, Jamie Potter, Jen Polson and Erika Wamsteeker, along with coaches Cathy Sim and Gord Tung, won the gold medal.

On the hardwood, Vernon’s Katelyn Oliver, Gary Pollen, Erin Murphy and Ashley Phillips teamed up with two players each from Kelowna and Kamloops and one from Salmon Arm to form the Thompson Okanagan Ogopogos, who won gold in basketball. Vernon’s Alex DeGrace was an assistant coach with the team.

Jay Megyesi of Vernon joined the Kelowna team to win gold in soccer.

After earning their spots in the 2017 SOBC Games through 2016 regional qualifiers, the competitors from more than 50 communities throughout B.C. and the Yukon trained hard with their year-round Special Olympics programs in their hometowns to be ready to be at their best in Kamloops.

They delivered outstanding performances in Canada’s Tournament Capital, showing their abilities and determination, and helping change the way the world sees individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Supported by more than 350 volunteer coaches and mission staff, the athletes competed in the 11 SOBC summer sports: 5- and 10-pin bowling, athletics, basketball, bocce, golf, powerlifting, rhythmic gymnastics, soccer, softball, and swimming.