Cake makes it better: Arctic Winter Games athletes look to the bright side
'It's the end of the season like it always is. It's going to celebrate our work in our past year'
Simon Lauer, a Grade 11 student and competitive speed skater in Whitehorse, is sad that the Arctic Winter Games have been canned this year — but not too sad to make a cake for his teammates.
On Sunday, the day after the cancellation was announced, Lauer showed up to practice with a homemade cake. "YUKON DO IT! AWG 2020" was written in colourful icing on top.
"[The games] may not be happening, but you know we're still gonna have a little bit of fun, get some laughs out of it and you know, it's cake so that always makes everybody feel better," he said.
"It's the end of the season like it always is. It's going to celebrate our work in our past year ... like we always would."
Lauer said the team had been training hard for the event — but that work won't go to waste. He said some of the skaters still have upcoming competitions elsewhere.
Sunday's practice went ahead as usual.
"We've got ice time, so might as well take it and work on getting better," he said.
Fifteen-year-old Lisa Freeman is also on the speed skating team. She thought Lauer's decision to bring a cake was "amazing."
"Because you know, it's food. So food's always great," she said.
Freeman thinks cancelling the games was probably the right call, but she was still disappointed.
"I put a lot of hours and training towards it, and I gave up most of my social life to train," she said.
She's still expecting to go to a different competition in Winnipeg later this month, if that event isn't also cancelled.
Both Lauer and Freeman hope there can be some smaller event planned in Whitehorse next week for the local athletes, in lieu of the big opening and closing ceremonies.
"Just like, something to acknowledge all the athletes, all their time they put in it, and like just how much training they put into it," Freeman said.
"We could do the walk from the baseball fields to Takhini Arena on the side, and we can wave our flags and have some fun, get a big photo," Lauer said.
"It's not going to be like a weeklong of games, but it'll be an afternoon of people saying you know, it's OK. We worked really hard. Let's celebrate that."
- An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Simon Lauer is in Grade 10. He is in Grade 11.Mar 10, 2020 12:11 PM CT
With files from Jane Sponagle