Two special Olympics athletes from Burns Lake brought back some hardware from the 2015 Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games held in Kamloops from Feb. 19 to 22.
Danny Tress and Vanessa Redwood, from Burns Lake, won five medals between the two after competing in snowshoe events.
Tress earned a gold medal in the 50 metre sprint, a silver medal in the 100 metre sprint, and had a personal best time in the 100 metre sprint.
“It was a surprise that I won; I just kept on going,” said Tress. “When I won I was very, very happy.”
Redwood earned a gold medal in the 50 metre sprint, a gold medal in the 200 metre sprint (personal best time) plus a silver in team relay event.
Tress and Redwood travelled to Kamloops with their coach Tina Giesbrecht, who is a teacher at Lakes District Secondary School in Burns Lake. Giesbrecht said both athletes gave their best performance at the winter games.
“It was a long and tiring four days but I am extremely proud of how hard Danny and Vanessa worked, and how well they represented Burns Lake,” she said. “They have been working hard to perfect quick starts and sprinting through the finish line as well as building stamina and strength.”
Susie, mother of Danny Tress, said coach Giesbrecht has worked hard to prepare the athletes for the games in Kamloops.
“Tina took time off work to meet with the athletes for practice,” said Susie. “We are very fortunate to have a coach who took time away from her work to assist these two athletes to compete in such an important event.”
The 2015 Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games had over 700 special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities and volunteers being a part of the event. Athletes competed in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing and speed skating. The winter games strive to be an inspiring display of the power of sport to spotlight abilities and even change lives.
Tress and Redwood participated in regional qualifiers last season to earn coveted spots in these provincial games. They are now waiting to hear if they will qualify for the nationals in Corner Brook, N.L., in 2016.