Meet Vernon Special Olympics hometown heroes

Eight athletes from Vernon will participate in the games

Colby Bell

Greater Vernon will be well represented in the 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games by eight outstanding local athletes competing in four sports.

Mary Adamson, snowshoeing

Adamson has been a Special Olympics athlete since 2015. She is attending her first Provincial Games in snowshoeing. Adamson also participates in athletics and Club Fit, and she is working on building her strength with the powerlifting team.

Adamson works as a cleaner at Kee’s Tai Kwan Do and she volunteers at the BC SPCA looking after the cats. She is very artistic and enjoys her time at Joining Hands doing painting and pottery. She also loves the Therapeutic riding at O’Keefe Ranch and is active in dragon boating.

Adamson is a longtime member at All Saints Anglican Church.

Colby Bell, alpine skiing

Bell is a multi-sport athlete who excels at alpine skiing, athletics, bowling, Club Fit, cross country skiing, powerlifting, and swimming. In the 2019 SOBC Winter Games, Bell will be competing in his third Provincial Winter Games in alpine skiing. Bell has been a keen skier since he was a pre-schooler. He loves to go fast, but he loves bumps and jumps even more. Bell is a good role model and mentor to his teammates. He is a hard worker, listens well, and always has fun.

Matthew Bisschop, cross country skiing

“I have been with Special Olympics BC – Vernon for about four years. My current sports are cross country skiing, athletics, Club Fit, and golf. I have tried powerlifting, floor hockey, and soccer,” said Bisschop.

“My favorite ski technique is the double pole. My other interests include building plastic models of cars, listening to all types of music, and helping my dad work on our vehicles. This is my first Provincial Games and I want to do the best I can.”

Related: Vernon’s Special Olympics BC Winter Games will be biggest ever

Related: What are the Special Olympics?

Dominique Borgeaud, cross country skiing

“I have been with Special Olympics for about 11 years. I started off with alpine skiing and was able to participate in a few races in Whistler and Kimberley,” said Borgeaud.

“About five years ago I also started cross country skiing. I like the fact that it gives me another winter outdoor activity and I love to do long cross country outings. My favourite is to go from SilverStar on Gold Mountain to Sovereign and then Lars Taylor and back to the village of SilverStar. I also started skate skiing this year but will have to work on that. My other interests are biking, swimming, bowling, and fishing with my Dad. I also like music, dancing, walking our dog, and shovelling driveways in winter.

“I’m excited about the Games and will give it my best.”

Justin Chippendale, snowshoeing

Chippendale has been with Special Olympics for about four years. He is attending his first Provincial Games in snowshoeing in 2019.

He has been training on the track and in the gym and doing yoga in preparation for competition to improve his strength and conditioning.

Chippendale also participates in athletics and Club Fit. He works at Denny’s as a dishwasher. In his spare time, he enjoys visiting with his friends and family and playing video games.

Crystal Rohrer, alpine skiing

Rohrer has been working hard at Club Fit this season to get ready to compete in alpine skiing at the 2019 SOBC Winter Games. Rohrer has the most infectious giggle and is a delight to coach.

Rohrer is very solid on her skis and is getting faster and faster every year. She is conquering more of the mountain each winter: trees, bumps, steeps, Rohrer can ski them all. Rohrer is the only female athlete on her ski team, so she helps the coaches to keep the boys in line.

Justin Sigal, cross country skiing

“I have been involved with Special Olympics BC – Vernon for about nine years. My current sports are cross country skiing, Club Fit, and golf. I have participated in alpine skiing, athletics, and bowling,” said Sigal.

“I made it all the way to the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in cross country skiing. It was tough, but amazing. I like the variety of techniques you do when cross country skiing. My other interests include biking, walking, Toast Masters, and watching the Oilers, Raptors and Blue Jays. My favorite type of music is up-beat dancing music. My plan for the 2019 SOBC Games is to do my best and have fun.”

Steven Schwebbach, floor hockey

Schwebbach is 28-years-old and has been a Special Olympics athlete for 10 years. He has participated in many of the Special Olympics sports over the years. He is currently involved in floor hockey, athletics, bowling, Club Fit, curling, golf, powerlifting, softball and swimming.

Schwebbach has participated in Provincial Games twice previously in powerlifting and track and field. He will be attending his third Provincial Games in Vernon in February as a player for the Kelowna floor hockey team. He also takes part in Fundraising for Special Olympics when the opportunity comes up.

In the community, Schwebbach works at a part-time job at the Station Barbecue Smokehouse restaurant and volunteers for Salvation Army. He is also a helpful and supportive son and grandson, always willing to help out when needed, and loves taking the family dog Lahela for walks. He enjoys going for coffee, out to movies and concerts, and is a devoted fan of the Vernon Vipers and Vancouver Canucks.


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Crystal Rohrer

Dominique Borgeaud

Justin Chippendale

Justin Sigal

Mary Adamson

Matthew Bisschop

Steven Schwebbach

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