Alberta bound Olympians anxious to compete
Duo of CBN athletes to race in snowshoe events
As the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games gets closer, the two athletes going from the TrinityConception region, Crystal Young and Amanda Butt, have been finding it hard to contain their excitement.
The two athletes are scheduled to leave Feb. 27 and return March 4.
Each athlete made Team Newfoundland after excellent showings at the provincial meet in Corner Brook late last year.
Their coach, Rick Oliver, told The Compass last week that his charges could sometimes lose their focus at practice because of the anticipation.
“Every practice they come up to me and say, ‘only x number of sleeps left.’”
— Coach Rick Oliver
It was becoming harder and harder to keep them on their schedule of three days- a- week practices, Oliver explained.
“Every practice they come up to me and say, ‘only x number of sleeps left,’” he said.
Crystal, in particular, is getting more and more electrified by the notion of heading to St. Albert, Alta. this week.
“I would say calling her extremely excited is selling it short,” said Oliver. “She hasn’t been able to stop talking about it.”
Although, one would think for Crystal, the Special Olympics are no big thing, since she has been through this before, having already competed at the Special Olympics Summer Games.
“She knows what to expect,” said Oliver.
Crystal, 38, will be competing in the 400 metre, 800 m and 1,600 m snowshoeing races.
Oliver called Crystal “an excellent athlete and a dedicated runner,” whose goal is to make it onto the global stage.
“She is training really, really hard for the games,” said the coach.
She’s also excited about visiting with old friends and meeting new ones from other regions of Canada.
Meanwhile, Amanda, 25, will be making her debut on the national stage.
After a strong performance in Corner Brook, she will be running in the 100 m, 200 m and the 400 m events with other runners of the same ability.
Amanda finished first in three events, and a single second place finish at the qualifying event in Corner Brook.
She plans on representing Newfoundland with “a great big smile and lots of determination,” according to her blog post on the Special Olympics website. Dancing the night away For some athletes, it isn’t even about competing. It is about the dance at the end of the Games.
It’s an event Amanda is especially excited about, since it is her first time going to nationals.
“They all love the dance,” Oliver said. “You don’t have to wait for people to get on the floor.”
It is a chance for the young ladies to get out and meet new people.
“The games is really about the friends they make,” said Oliver.
The coach stressed that point when reciting the motto for the Special Olympics worldwide — “Let me win, but if I can’t win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
All athletes would like the opportunity to experience victory, but Oliver said that is not the end goal.
“It’s about being respectful and making new friends.”
Amanda Butt (left), Rick Oliver and Crystal Young (right) are busy preparing for what should be an exciting journey to the Special Olympics Winter Games Feb. 27 to March 4 in St. Albert, Alta.