Spe­cial Olympians off to Aus­tria

The Compass - - Front page - TC ME­DIA chris.lewis@tc.tc

Crys­tal Young and San­dra Smith will rep­re­sent Team Canada at the 2017 Spe­cial Olympic World Win­ter Games in Aus­tria later this month. The two women from the Con­cep­tion Bay North area will com­pete in snow­shoe­ing events. Last Thurs­day, a spe­cial gath­er­ing took place in Tilton to help send off the ath­letes.

Crys­tal Young of Har­bour Grace and San­dra Smith of Car­bon­ear will both fly to Aus­tria this com­ing Satur­day as mem­bers of Team Canada for the 2017 Spe­cial Olympics World Win­ter Games.

Young and Smith are mem­bers of the Tri-Con Gen­tle Giants Spe­cial Olympics team, and will be tak­ing part in the 1,600 me­tre and five-kilo­me­tre snow­shoe­ing races. They have com­peted in the past on both the pro­vin­cial and na­tional lev­els.

The Or­ange Lodge in Tilton hosted a cel­e­bra­tion for both ath­letes last night, where they re­ceived cheques from both the Car­bon­ear and Har­bour Grace coun­cils, as well as kind words from those who will cheer them on from home.

“This all means so much to us,” said Young, stand­ing next to Smith who fought to hold back tears of joy.

Rick Oliver, Young’s train­ing coach, says that both of the ath­letes more than de­serve the op­por­tu­nity, and their ded­i­ca­tion lead­ing up to the games shows just how much it means to them.

“I’ve never seen some­one so ded­i­cated to a sport,” said Oliver about Young, who he trained up to this point. “You tell her to run 5k and she’s gone, run­ning 5k. Usu­ally more.”

Smith and Young’s per­for­mances in pre­vi­ous pro­vin­cial and na­tional games are not only what got them where they are to­day. Both ath­letes at­tended train­ing camps in On­tario and Saskatchewan, and fol­lowed a strict train­ing rou­tine while at home. Usu­ally, this in­volved a five-kilo­me­tre run through a trail six days a week.

Both ath­letes will spend roughly three weeks in Aus­tria. Dur­ing the first week, they will get the chance to ex­plore the coun­try and get used to the cul­ture. The fol­low­ing two weeks will be when the win­ter games take place, although a solid sched­ule has not yet been set in stone for ei­ther of them.

Smith and Young two of four New­found­lan­ders who will be trav­el­ling to Aus­tria with Team Canada. They will be ac­com­pa­nied by Justin Drodge of Grand Bank- For­tune and Floressa Har­ris of Gan­der.

“They worked hard,” added Oliver, “and I hope all the hard work pays off in the end.”

San­dra Smith (left) and Crys­tal Young were pre­sented with do­na­tions from neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

Har­bour Grace Mayor Terry Barnes con­grat­u­lat­ing Crys­tal Young and wish­ing her all the best.

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