It’s been a cold winter, but that hasn’t put a chill on the enthusiasm of four Labrador West athletes getting ready to participate in the upcoming Newfoundland and Labrador Special Olympic Winter Games.
The individual events take place Feb. 22-24 in Central Newfoundland.
Junior Humphries, chairman of the Labrador West Special Olympics group, says they are pleased to send athletes from Labrador West to the games for the first time.
“Our group, the Labrador West Big Landers, was formed about two years ago, and to be able to have some of our members participate in the Games is exciting for all of us," he said.
Humphries says the strong community support and the endless commitment and dedication of volunteers is a reason the group has grown since its inception, enabling the athletes to participate in the Special Olympics.
Jody Lawrence of Wabush and Colin Rumbolt of Labrador City will compete in cross-country skiing. At 10, Colin is the youngest of the Labrador West athletes. When asked what he hoped to accomplish at the Games, his wish is simple: “Win a medal," he said.
His mom, Natasha, explained that Colin has been skiing since he was three and enjoys the sport and the benefits that come with the exercise and fresh air that come along with it.
Lawrence has been skiing for a number of years and has enjoyed participating in the Great Labrador Lopped in the past.
"I enjoy skiing and getting outdoors," he said.
His mom Rhonda, who is also his coach, is proud of him.
“The Special Olympics gives these athletes a chance to get out and compete and to see what friendly competition is all about. Jody is excited about going, but I think I am just as excited to see these young people go to their very first Special Olympics competition."
Junior Dumaresque of Labrador City and Christopher Gillam of Wabush will compete for Labrador West in the snowshoe event.
“I can’t wait," said Gillam. "And to be there with my friend Jody, that's awesome."
Joan Hibbs coaches the snowshoers.
“It’s great to see the interest these athletes have in the Games. In the lead up, the coaches and athletes have been working hard to tune their skills, edged on by the support of family friends, other members of the Big Landers and the desire to participate just like any athlete."
Labrador West athletes will participate in the following events:
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING
2.5 kilometre, 5 k and 500 metre
200metres and 100 meters