Shuswap to be well-represented at BC Winter Games in Vernon

Thirty-one athletes from the Shuswap including Salmon Arm, Tappen, Canoe and Celista are listed as participants in this year's games.

With the 2012 BC Winter Games set to start in Vernon Feb. 23 to 26, spirit is building in communities across B.C.

The brainchild of Premier W.R. Bennett, the Games began in 1978 in Penticton. Since then, 38 communities across the province have hosted the Games, some of them more than once. More than 200,000 people have volunteered and more than 150,000 athletes have competed since it began.

Thirty-one athletes from the Shuswap are listed as participants in this year’s games, participating in badminton, curling, hockey, judo, ringette, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing and speed skating.

“One of the most important benefits of hosting a BC Games is how it brings a community together,” says Henry Pejril, president of the 2006 BC Summer Games in Kamloops. “There aren’t many opportunities like a Games that can capture the full cross-section of a community. The feeling of pride and accomplishment lasts in a host city for many years to come.”

Many well-known athletes had their start at the BC Games, including Tour de France cyclist Ryder Hesjedal and 2010 Olympic women’s snowboarding cross gold medallist Maelle Ricker, who are among the alumni who say their dreams of international competition began at the BC Games.

“My Olympic success can be traced to the provincial Games in my native Manitoba and I see the BC Winter Games providing the same opportunity for young athletes today,” says BC Games Society chair and 1976 Olympic speedskating silver medalist, Cathy Priestner Allinger.  “The BC Winter Games provide rising stars an opportunity to benefit from excellent coaching, while testing their skills against B.C.’s best.  Our next generation of Canada Games athletes and Olympians are getting ready for the 2012 BC Winter Games in Vernon.”

Participants are generally under the age of 18 (depending on the sport), and have the potential to move beyond local and regional competition to the national stage and beyond.

“The BC Games are an important stepping stone towards the Canada Games and ultimately the Olympic Games,” says Kelly Stefanyshyn, a former Olympic swimmer and BC Games Society board member. “Learning to (compete) for a team beyond just your sport and focus while so many events are occurring is imperative to an athlete’s success.”

According to the official website, the aim of the Games is “to provide an opportunity for the development of athletes, coaches, and officials in preparation for higher levels of competition in a multi-sport event which promotes interest and participation in sport and sporting activities, individual achievement, and community development.”

Brian Carruthers, President of the Williams Lake 2002 BC Winter Games, is proud of the achievements of B.C. athletes.

“Sport builds character in individuals and brings people together in a positive environment, whether as competitors, spectators or organizers,” he says.

The Winter Games feature 15 sports, including curling, figure skating, skiing and women’s hockey. It is expected that more than1,500 athletes and over 300 coaches will participate in the Games in February.

“I believe in the BC Games as it provides an opportunity to share the spirit with other British Columbians while celebrating your community in the most fantastic and rewarding way,” says Diana Johnstone, Operations Manager for the 2002 BC Summer Games in Nanaimo. “I can’t wait until 2014 when Nanaimo will once again be privileged to host this amazing event.”

Surrey will host the 2012 BC Summer Games in July.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 closes Okanagan College summer camps

Popular Camp OC put on shelf from Salmon Arm to Penticton, and Revelstoke, until 2021

COVID-19: Salmon Arm council to terminate contract for Visitor Information Centre

Chamber to close centre doors at end of August after 25 years, city to welcome digital proposals

Shuswap cabin owner hopes to improve B.C.-Alberta relations

Alberta resident redrafts response to CSRD request to stay home

Single-lane traffic on Highway 1 in Salmon Arm due to aging watermain

City says goodbye to cast-iron main while moving it off highway, into park

Snapshot: Distanced dancing in Salmon Arm

Friends use picnic shelter at Blackburn Park for safe practice

Shuswap history in pictures: Dodgy dismount

Image taken in June 1977. Do you know the occasion?

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

Body of missing woman found in Kelowna

Kelly Joy Zuchotzki was last seen on May 24

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

Almost half of shops in North Okanagan mall reopened

Reduced food court capacity, curb-side pickup program en route

CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism for those whose careers may have been sidelined due to the pandemic

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

More than a third of people believe the virus was created in a lab

Most Read