Winter games close with lasting memories for athletes
The closing ceremonies for the 2014 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games were held Saturday night in Clarenville.
The games ended with Labrador leading the overall medal count at 22. Western had the highest number of gold medals, with 13.
Spokesperson Richard Churchill said the close of the games represents the culmination of two and a half years of preparation.
"We're really basking in the success of the games and the great competition and sportsmanship we've witnessed," said Churchill.
"The venues have worked out fantastic ... and the weather has been fantastic."
Churchill said when it was announced that the games were coming to Clarenville, the organizers went to work ensuring that venues would meet capacity and logistics were arranged to feed and host 1,500 athletes.
Some of the accomplishments the organizers are most proud of include providing healthy food for the athletes, based on a menu approved by a nutritionist — and announcing player rosters at a gold medal match to create a unique experience for the competitors.
"We wanted it to be a special event — and a memorable event," said Churchill.
The organizers even arranged to have Canadian Olympic figure skater Kaetlyn Osmond send a video for the opening ceremonies to help the competitors feel a connection to Sochi 2014.
Churchill said many athletes were engaged with the games in Russia, making it an extra special experience for participants.
"That connection, falling on the heels of the winter Olympics in Sochi, has certainly been felt, and I think it really motivated the kids to do the best in these games," said Churchill.
The next winter games will be held in Conception Bay South in 2016.