‘Our finest hour’
beam with pride — and perhaps some exhaustion — Saturday as the Games wrapped up and athletes boarded their busses for the homeward journey.
Team Western came away with two of the three major awards, including the Premier’s Cove for the most overall points, and the Sport NL Award for the most improved team.
But it was the host team that generated the loudest applause when it was announced it had won the Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for the most spirited team. Athletes from the host region earned 32 medals, including nine gold, and proved to be gracious ambassadors throughout the week.
This award was voted on by various athletes, officials and coaches.
Harbour Grace Mayor Don Coombs said Saturday’s ceremonies were bittersweet. He was given the honour of extinguishing the flame, making his way to the tower through an honour guard formed by host athletes.
Coombs and Carbonear Mayor Sam Slade also passed the Summer Games flag to the Town of Conception Bay South, which will host the event in 2016.
“It’s sad to see everyone go,” Coombs told The Compass. “We made a lot of friends and it was a great week for the athletes.
“It’s a great day for Harbour Grace and Carbonear, and hopefully we don’t have to wait for another 20.”
Coombs said he was immensely proud and impressed by athletic prowess of the athletes, and the positive energy they brought to the Games.
Praise for Games manager
Games’ manager Stephanie Bourne was singled out for her efforts, with George complimenting her “superb organization skills” and suggesting her career is on an upward track.
“What you have done for us over the past year can only be described as phenomenal,” George said.
Athletes and coaches were also showering praise on organizers.
Team Avalon girls’ ball hockey coach Jeff Garland said that whenever he needed anything, or had a question, there was always a volunteer on hand to help out.
“Everything that I will take away from these Games has been positive,” he said. “I don’t have anything negative to say.”
For people like David Kennedy, who was director of venues, sports, officials and integration, such compliments were more than welcome.
He was humbled by all the kinds words, and said it was only possible because so many people came forward to help out.
“The volunteers were great,” he said, adding that fan attendance was also noteworthy, since many venues were often filled with spectators.
Dozens of athletes from the Trinity-Conception region earned medals at the Games, either as a member of the host team, or Team Avalon (see fact box). Local athletes excelled in sports such as ball hockey, baseball, swimming and track and field.
It was a memorable experience, said Carbonear’s Elizabeth Hicks, who won three medals at the track.
“There were a lot of people out cheering us on,” she said. “I had a lot of my friends come up to me and say ‘good job.’”
When asked about what he thinks people will remember 20 years from now, Coombs had trouble hiding his excitement.
“I think people are going to reflect on the Games, especially the kids, and say they were the best they were ever a part of,” he said.
Members of the host team proudly display the Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for the most spirited team at the 2012 NL Summer Games, which were successfully staged in Carbonear and Harbour Grace last week.
The manager for the 2012 NL Summer Games, Stephanie Bourne, received gen
erous praise during the closing ceremonies for leading the enormous effort
to organize the event.
Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy (left) presents the Lieutenant-Governor’s Award to Devon Groves of Carbonear and Regan Reynolds of Harbour Grace. The two young athletes accepted the award on behalf of the host team. The award is presented to the most spirited team at the NL Summer Games.
We had a really good time. It was a lot of fun. We had a few tough games. Went to a few events. It was good memories. A good experience.