Saskatchewan Games athletes motivated by Olympians

There's another set of Winter Games taking place closer to home this week: the Saskatchewan Winter Games are underway in Prince Albert.

4 Team Canada speed skaters at Sochi competed as teens at Sask. Winter Games

Kees Corriere with the North Division team competes in a cross-country skiing event at the Saskatchewan Winter Games in Prince Albert. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)

Some local athletes are looking to the Olympics as a motivator this week, as the Saskatchewan Winter games are underway in Prince Albert. 

Around 1,700 kids aged 12-17 from across the province are competing in events like cross-country skiing, hockey, figure skating, and many more. 

Kate Korchinski in Saskatoon competes as a figure skater in the Saskatchewan Winter Games (Ryan Pilon/CBC)
Lance Alm, 13, from Wilke is playing hockey at the Games. 

"I feel good to represent my zone here, and try to do my best here, and make everyone proud," he said. 

Burk Gosselin, 11, is a cross-country skier from Shellbrook.

"You have a lot of competition, it's like, all of Saskatchewan," he said. "And you want to try your hardest to try and beat everybody, it's just a fun experience."

The Rivers West Bantam bench looks on as the team faces off against Saskatoon in Winter Games hockey action in Prince Albert. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)
And many athletes like Alm and Gosselin are using the Olympics in Sochi as motivation. Organizing committee chairman Al Dyer says that's not as far-fetched a goal as one may think. 

"This is a really important step for athletes that have the ability to move on," he said. "The provincial sport governing bodies use this as a talent identification competition. There could be a future Olympian competing today."

But before participants set their sights on Olympic dreams, they're focusing on doing their best in Prince Albert. 

"This is like the Saskatchewan Winter Games, and the step higher is the Olympic Games, and just trying and someday I'll go there," said Jaymee Stupak, 11, a figure skater from Saskatoon.

"I feel like this is just one step forward on a long jouney," added Alm, in his hockey gear.

They're not the first Saskatchewan athletes to dream about Olympic podiums. In this year's Sochi games, four speed skaters who previously played in the Saskatchewan Games are competing for Canada. 

The Saskatchewan Games end with closing ceremonies in Prince Albert Saturday.