Main photo: Members of Special Olympics Muskoka at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games (from left) coach Cindy Blake, Mark Cheek, James Clarke, Samantha MacKenzie, John Groenevelt, and Randy McDonald (supplied)
Submitted by Special Olympics Muskoka coach Cindy Blake
Five local Special Olympics Muskoka cross-country skiers gave medal-winning performances at the Canada Winter Games in Thunder Bay.
As part of Special Olympics Team Ontario, James Clarke, Mark Cheek, Samantha MacKenzie, Randy McDonald, and John Groenevelt competed against some excellent athletes from across Canada and came home champions.
The Special Olympics Ontario Team consisted of 25 talented athletes and 11 dedicated coaches who attended the Games in Thunder Bay from February 24-March 1, and their commitment to training and practices paid off in great opportunities, new friendships and lots of medals:
James Clarke (35 years), Huntsville/Port Sydney – Bronze M1-1K, Silver M1-2.5K, 4th M1-5K
Mark Cheek (20 years), Huntsville – Gold M1-1K, Silver M2-2.5K, Silver M2-5K
Samantha MacKenzie (15 years), Huntsville – Bronze F1-100m, Bronze F1-500m, 5th F2-1K
Randy McDonald (Coon) (35 years), Bracebridge – Gold M2-100m, 5th M3-500m, Bronze M4-1K
John Groenevelt (45 years), Bracebridge – Bronze M3-100m, Silver M5-500m, 5th M5-1K
Special Olympics divisions competition distances so that it allows all athletes to compete equally and enhances success and confidence, building self-esteem and character in all athletes.
“Team Ontario Nordic did our province proud!” says Blake. “We attended the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games 2020 with athletes from Alpine Skiing, Speed Skating, Figure Skating, Curling, Bowling, Floor Hockey, and Snowshoeing, so Ontario was well represented and had a terrific experience at these Games.”
Blake thanks everyone in the community provided support to help these local athletes attend the Games, “build these memories, increase self-confidence, and, most of all, have pride in their accomplishments. We couldn’t have done it without all of you.”
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