Manitoba Special Olympians return from winter games
Manitoba's Special Olympians returned home on Sunday after an impressive showing at the national winter games in St. Albert, Alta.
The provincial team won a total of 36 medals at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games, including 16 gold, nine silver and 11 bronze.
Laurel Cumming, a spokewoman for Special Olympics Manitoba, said every athlete from the province came home feeling good about their performances.
"Every one of our athletes at least got a personal best if they didn't medal out, so they're just thrilled. It's just another accomplishment for them," she told CBC News.
The Special Olympics Canada Winter Games are the national event for athletes with intellectual disabilities, according to the games' website.
Competitions are held in seven sports: alpine and cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing and speedskating.
More than 650 Special Olympians representing 10 provinces, along with Yukon and Northwest Territories, competed in St. Albert from Feb. 28 until Saturday.
Team Manitoba consisted of 42 athletes, along with 22 coaches and mission staff.
Cumming said Special Olympics athletes train very hard for national and international competitions such as the one in St. Albert.
"They probably train at minimum three times a week — probably more like four or five times a week — so they see their fellow competitors oftentimes more than their family members," she said. "They just love it."
After the final results have been tallied, some Special Olympians from across the country, including Manitoba, will be selected to represent Canada at the 2013 Special Olympic World Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.