Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by John Tonin

APPLAUDING THEIR TEAMMATES – Members of the Special Olympics Team Yukon cheer on their fellow athletes as they are introduced at Sport Yukon on Monday. The team will be competing in the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Thunder Bay, Ont. from Feb. 24 to March 1, 2020.

Special Olympics Team Yukon 2020 are introduced

The Special Olympics Canada Winter Games will be held in Thunder Bay, Ont. Feb. 24 to March 1, 2020.

By John Tonin on November 26, 2019

The Special Olympics Canada Winter Games will be held in Thunder Bay, Ont. Feb. 24 to March 1, 2020. On Monday at Sport Yukon, the athletes who will be representing the territory in Thunder Bay were introduced.

The Games feature eight events. The Special Olympics Team Yukon, presented by Urban Realty Group, will be competing in three sports – figure skating, curling and cross country skiing.

Chef de mission Andrew Elines told a press conference the team is showing great team spirit.

"Although it is three different sports, I can tell there is already an awesome unity amongst the team," said Elines. "I think it really helps the Whitehorse community vibes.

"It's something we are going to further build upon into the coming months as we come together as Team Yukon heading into Thunder Bay."

Team Yukon is only sending nine athletes but Elines told the crowd he believes the athletes will have great successes.

"I'm positive this team will accomplish a lot together a Team Yukon," said Elines. "During these Games, I can't wait to share those experiences with you guys and celebrate your successes along the way and see your hard work pay off.

"You guys have starting training since provincials in Vernon (B.C.) last year. It's fun to see that hard work pay off. It's going to be an incredible time … I know we will make the territory proud. Let's bring on the Games."

Gaetan Michaud has been to Thunder Bay on family vacations when he was a kid, but this will be his first time there competing. Michaud is the skip for the curling team.

"I'm expecting the team to just have fun and don't get ahead of themselves," said Michaud. "If they worry about what's going on, don't worry about it; just continue to playing the way you play."

Michaud said the team has been hard at work preparing for the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.

"Oh, yes," said Michaud. "We've been doing a lot of training. We did training in the summer and then went to provincials got back, then got back at in October and we've been training ever since."

He is grateful for everyone who has helped the team reach their goals.

"It's a way of saying thank you to the coaching staff; they're the ones that are getting us there," said Michaud. "It's not just us. It's the coaches, the staff, everybody. Even our families are behind us. Everybody."

Michaud said it is exciting every time he gets to represent the Yukon.

Athletes and coaching staff of Special Olympics Team Yukon are as follows:

Figure Skating Team: Michael Sumner, Tijana McCarthy and head coach Tanya Sage.

Curling Team: Albert Bill, Carrie Rudolph, Chris Lee, Edward Kaye, Michaud, head coach Debra Sumner and coach Scott Lillies.

Cross Country Ski Team: Darby McIntyre, Ernest Chua, Owen Munroe, head coach Helen Slama and mission staff Jerome McIntyre.

Good luck with your training to all the athletes. The Yukon will be backing all of you when you travel to Thunder Bay.

The Games will bring 1,200 athletes, coaches, managers and mission staff to Thunder Bay from across the country.

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