Two athletes, mission staff member from P.E.I. part of Team Canada
Three Islanders are in Los Angeles for the Special Olympics World Games, which begin Saturday.
Three Prince Edward Islanders have arrived in Los Angeles for the Special Olympics World Games.
Special Olympics P.E.I. executive director Charity Sheehan of Covehead is a member of Team Canada’s mission staff for athletics, and athletes John Paynter of Freetown and Jenna Smith of Ellerslie will compete from Saturday to Aug. 2. Paynter will compete in athletics while Smith’s sport is tenpin bowling.
“Both Jenna and John have been members of Special Olympics P.E.I. for a number of years,” said Sheehan. “They both have strong work ethics when it comes to being prepared. . .
“From signing their contracts from the first day I met with them, attending training camps, working out, to being interviewed by local media or even a little segment on the Rick Mercer Report, Jenna and John have embraced this experience to its fullest.”
Smith and Paynter were selected for Team Canada after strong performances – each won three medals – at the 2014 Special Olympics Canada National Summer Games in Vancouver.
“There is a point system for individual sports,” explained Sheehan. “You get so many for a gold, so many for silver, so many for bronze.
“It goes through all the selection criteria. It’s a bit complicated, but basically they got there on their own merit based on the results they had in Vancouver.”
Sheehan pointed out it’s a significant accomplishment to be selected for Team Canada’s roster.
“There were over 1,200 athletes that were there (in Vancouver), and around 115 (Canadian) athletes are going to World Games,” she said. “On the World Games stage, there are 7,000 athletes. The chances and odds are not really great, you have to have really good performances.”
Sheehan will be attending her third Special Olympics World Games, but this will be her first summer competition. She was a mission staff member with Canada’s snowshoeing teams at the World Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, in 1995 and South Korea in 2013.
So, what role will Sheehan have as a mission staff member?
“The simplest job description is everything but coaching,” answered Sheehan. “It’s very logistical based, making sure our coaches have what they need to do the job they are there to do.”
Special Olympics P.E.I. executive director Charity Sheehan is a mission staff member for Team Canada at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
John Paynter, above, and Jenna Smith, below, are in Los Angeles representing Prince Edward Island at the Special Olympics World Games.