Gen­tle Gi­ants fin­ish big in Van­cou­ver

Tri-Con wins 12 medals at Spe­cial Olympics Summer Games

The Compass - - SPORTS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­

It may have been a month since four ath­letes from the Tri-Con Gen­tle Gi­ants came home from a na­tional com­pe­ti­tion in Van­cou­ver, but they are still cel­e­brat­ing.

Shawn Daw­son, Eleanor Hobbs, Crys­tal Young and Josh Mutrey flew to Van­cou­ver for the Spe­cial Olympics Canada Summer Games, an event that takes place once ev­ery four years. All four of them came home with at least one medal from the July 8 to 12 com­pe­ti­tions.

Shawn Daw­son

Shawn has been a mem­ber of the Bay Roberts Sea Lions swim club since he was seven years old.

Mom Diane Daw­son has been very sup­port­ive, say­ing the sport has helped him over­come some chal­lenges he has ex­pe­ri­enced grow­ing up with Autism.

“I used to be on the side of the pool, edg­ing him on to keep go­ing,” Diane ex­plained. “And now, he’s swim­ming at na­tion­als.”

Shawn, who lives with his par­ents in Clarke’s Beach, didn’t speak much dur­ing an in­ter­view with The Com­pass, but his face lit up when his mom asks about swim­ming. “He just loves to swim,” Diane said. Shawn smiled and added, “Yes, (I) love to swim.”

She went to Van­cou­ver with the 23-year-old and the other ath­letes. She said it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence to at­tend.

“They put off a fan­tas­tic na­tion­als,” she ex­claimed.

Shawn came home with two sil­ver medals in 50 and 200-me­tre back­stroke and a bronze in 100 back­stroke. Each weighed about half-a-pound.

Shawn works at Scrun­chions Res­tau­rant in Bay Roberts, where the staff are his big­gest sup­port­ers dur­ing com­pe­ti­tions.

Eleanor Hobbs

Shawn’s team­mate in the pool was Eleanor Hobbs from Vic­to­ria.

Eleanor was not orig­i­nally a swim­mer with the Spe­cial Olympics. She be­gan with track and field.

When a coach re­al­ized the 37-year-old could swim, she was in­vited to join the swim team.

“I love swim­ming,” Eleanor told The Com­pass from her apart­ment. “I never went in it to win.”

She is a strong com­peti­tor, tak­ing home a medal in all six of her events — gold in 50 me­tre but­ter­fly, 100 back­stroke m, 100 m in­di­vid­ual med­ley and 100 m freestyle, sil­ver in 50 m freestyle and bronze in 25 m but­ter­fly.

But some­times, she would like to see oth­ers win too, which is an un­usual stance for ath­letes. “I want some­body to beat me,” she said. Her choice in swim­ming events is the but­ter­fly, which some con­sider the most dif­fi­cult stroke.

Eleanor has been swim­ming in ponds all her life, and plays soft­ball in the summer. She has been stay­ing ac­tive, which has helped her lose 30 pounds.

“There’s no such thing as can’t,” Eleanor ex­claimed.

Crys­tal Young

Crys­tal can be seen run­ning around her home­town of Har­bour Grace sev­eral times a week.

Although there are not many long-dis­tance events at the Games, it is where the 41-yearold’s pas­sion lies.

“She does a lot of train­ing on her own,” her mom Glenys Pen­ney said. “Every­one knows her from see­ing her run (all over town).”

Although she en­joys win­ning medals and com­pet­ing, Crys­tal ex­plained her favourite thing is get­ting to meet so many peo­ple.

“It’s not just the com­pe­ti­tion and win­ning,” Crys­tal said. “It’s the peo­ple, meet­ing new friends.

Ly­ing on the ta­ble in front of her were two gold medals. The first was for the stand­ing long jump, while the other was for the 3000 me­tre run.

Crys­tal ex­plained she wrote a let­ter to the or­ga­niz­ers of the New­found­land and Labrador Summer Games to al­low her to com­pete in a 3000 m event, be­cause they didn’t of­fer it. The let­ter led to her com­pet­ing and win­ning the event in Van­cou­ver.

When Crys­tal was asked why she did so well, she ex­plained her mom and coaches were be­hind her through it all.

Josh Mutrey

The Games was not the com­pe­ti­tion Josh had hoped for.

The 18-year-old brought home a gold medal, and an ex­pe­ri­ence no ath­lete should have.

“On the third day, they thought I had a seizure,” Josh ex­plained. “It was heat stroke.”

He was treated, but didn’t get to re­turn to the com­pe­ti­tion as an ath­lete.

In the past five years or so, Josh has par­tic­i­pated in many track and field events, and has earned 32 medals — he keeps track.

When he re­turns to train­ing in the fall, his plan is to start build­ing up some more mus­cu­lar strength and try to earn more medals next sea­son. “I love win­ning medals,” he smiled. When Josh isn’t train­ing and hav­ing fun, he is work­ing at the Sal­va­tion Army Thrift Store in his home­town, Car­bon­ear.

To get in­volved with the Tri-Con Gen­tle Gi­ants, con­tact Gina Bishop at gbish@hot­

Shawn Daw­son

Eleanor Hobbs.JPG

Crys­tal Young

Josh Mutrey

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