Harbour Grace, Carbonear celebrate achievements of local gold medal winning Special Olympians
Crystal Young and Sandra Smith met by hundreds of cheering supporters
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.
Sandra Smith (left) and Crystal Young speakin front of hundreds of their supporters.
The sign erected in Habour Grace in celebration of Crystal Young’s accomplishments.
Both Smith and Young were met with hundreds of friends and family upon entering the Danny Cleary Harbour Grace Community Centre.