One year after their city hosted the Special Olympics BC Winter Games, Vernon athletes are preparing to step on this year’s national stage in Thunder Bay.
Vernon’s Colby Bell, Justin Sigal, Mary Adamson, Justin Chippendale and Matthew Bisschop are among the 143 athletes who qualified for Team BC at last year’s events in Vernon, earning their place at the Canada Winter Games from Feb. 25-29, 2020.
Cross country skiers Bisschop and Sigal will be accompanied by Vernon coach Les Sigal – one of 42 volunteer coaches from B.C. heading to the events.
Bell is Vernon’s lone alpine skiing athlete. Bell earned one gold and two bronze medals at last year’s BC Games.
With Chippendale and Adamson the city also has two snowshoeing competitors, along with volunteer coach Janny Chung.
“I’m excited, proud and honoured to be a part of Team BC 2020. It’s a good feeling being accepted for who I am,” said Adamson, who also calls competing at the games “a dream come true.”
Michelle Cruickshank, Team BC’s Chef de Mission, says her team is “incredibly well-prepared.”
“I am so proud of the dedication and effort shown by all of these inspiring athletes, coaches, and volunteers,” said Cruickshank.
“They have been working hard for three years to reach this event, and I know they will do B.C. proud at National Games. Their abilities and their sportsmanship will inspire everyone watching.”
The Winter Games will see athletes compete in eight sports: five-pin bowling, alpine skiing, cross country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing, and speed skating.
It’s the first time five-pin bowling has been a part of the winter event schedule, having previously been a part of the summer sport cycle.