Har­bour Grace, Car­bon­ear cel­e­brate achieve­ments of lo­cal gold medal win­ning Spe­cial Olympians

Crys­tal Young and San­dra Smith met by hun­dreds of cheer­ing sup­port­ers

The Compass - - Front page - BY CHRIS LEWIS

After re­turn­ing to New­found­land with five medals be­tween them, San­dra Smith and Crys­tal Young were over­whelmed by the sup­port and cel­e­bra­tion from their home­towns.

Start­ing from the Car­bon­ear Re­cre­ation Cen­tre, a group con­sist­ing of around 100 ve­hi­cles drove, with lights flash­ing and horns honk­ing, all the way to the Danny Cleary Har­bour Grace Com­mu­nity Cen­tre last Tues­day to cel­e­brate Smith and Young’s suc­cess at the Spe­cial Olympics World Win­ter Games in Aus­tria.

More cel­e­bra­tions were held in the lobby of the com­mu­nity cen­tre, which was full of friends, fam­ily, and sup­port­ers.

It was then that Car­bon­ear and Har­bour Grace may­ors Ge­orge Butt Jr. and Terry Barnes made pre­sen­ta­tions, an­nounc­ing streets in their re­spec­tive com­mu­ni­ties named after their lo­cal ath­letes — Crys­tal’s Way in Har­bour Grace and San­dra’s Way in Car­bon­ear.

Along with the an­nounce­ment, Young was driven out to the side of the Veteran’s Memo­rial High­way, where she could see for the first time a sign erected to cel­e­brate her ac­com­plish­ments, sim­i­lar to the sign just across the road de­pict­ing Danny Cleary and Jamie Korab.

Both Smith and Young told The Com­pass they were blown away by the amount of sup­port they re­ceived.

“It’s amaz­ing, we ap­pre­ci­ate and thank every per­son that came out tonight,” said Young. “We’re up there with Danny Cleary and Jamie Korab now, with our own streets and a sign and every­thing. It’s ex­cel­lent.”

Ken McDon­ald, Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for the Avalon, also at­tended the cel­e­bra­tions to con­grat­u­late the two ath­letes.

“It’s not every day some­one gets a gold medal in a world com­pe­ti­tion,” said McDon­ald. “I told the two girls ear­lier — you didn’t just win it for the com­mu­nity or the prov­ince, you won it for the world. You’re the top ath­lete in that cat­e­gory in the en­tire world. Every­body is so proud of what they’ve ac­com­plished.”

The two ath­letes left for Aus­tria on March 10, and ar­rived home on March 26.

“We had so much fun in Aus­tria,” Young said, “We even got to dance in the streets of Vi­enna.”

“That was our favourite part,” added Smith.

Dur­ing their al­most three­week stint in Aus­tria, Smith earned two gold medals and a sil­ver medal. Her two golds came from the 200-me­tre snow­shoe­ing race, and the 4x400-m snow­shoe­ing race. She earned her sil­ver medal for plac­ing sec­ond in the 400-m snow­shoe­ing race.

Young earned two gold medals from the 5-kilo­me­tre snow­shoe­ing race, and as a mem­ber of the same 4x400-m snow­shoe­ing re­lay team as Smith.

Both ath­letes men­tioned their fam­ily as their big­gest sup­port­ers, say­ing they wouldn’t have made it where they did with­out their par­ents be­hind them through­out the whole ex­pe­ri­ence.

Both Smith and Young have been mem­bers of the Tri-Con Gen­tle Giants for sev­eral years, and have com­peted in both pro­vin­cial and na­tional level com­pe­ti­tions. Now, the two can add the World Win­ter games to their list of ac­com­plish­ments.

CHRIS LEWIS/TC ME­DIA

San­dra Smith (left) and Crys­tal Young speakin front of hun­dreds of their sup­port­ers.

CHRIS LEWIS/TC ME­DIA

The sign erected in Habour Grace in cel­e­bra­tion of Crys­tal Young’s ac­com­plish­ments.

CHRIS LEWIS/TC ME­DIA

Both Smith and Young were met with hun­dreds of friends and fam­ily upon en­ter­ing the Danny Cleary Har­bour Grace Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

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