B.C. Games can ignite lifelong sports passion

Alex Ohlson performs a synchronized swimming routine. Ohlson is one of 71 local youths participating in the B.C. Summer Games starting Thursday (July 19) in Surrey. - Photo submitted
Alex Ohlson performs a synchronized swimming routine. Ohlson is one of 71 local youths participating in the B.C. Summer Games starting Thursday (July 19) in Surrey.
— image credit: Photo submitted

When the Olympic and Paralympic Games begin in London, there are a number of Canadian athletes who will remember their first multi-sport experience at a B.C. Games.

Twenty-four athletes on the Canadian Olympic team started their journey to London with a trip to the B.C. Games including 2008 Olympic gold medallist Carol Huynh (wrestling), and recent Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal (cycling).

As part of the athlete development pathway, the B.C. Games are a first multi-sport experience for young athletes that lead towards provincial and national teams and ultimately the Olympic or Paralympic Games. The B.C. Games are part of a strong provincial sport system that provides an outstanding training environment and support services for high-performance athletes.

Swimmer Brent Hayden of Mission is considered a medal contender in London. Brent competed at the 1998 B.C. Summer Games.

“[That] was the point in my career when I realized that I had the potential to go further…” he said.

Over 2,300 athletes between the ages of 10 and 18 will be at this week’s Games, which kick off one week prior to the start of the Olympics.

It’s an inspiring experience, said Karina LeBlanc of Canada’s national women’s soccer team.

“I did dream of one day being at the Olympic Games and it was the closest thing for me to it, so it made me want to be there that much more,” she said.

Seventy-one athletes from Nanaimo, Lantzville, Nanoose Bay and Cedar qualified to compete at the 2012 B.C. Summer Games:

Athletics - Kabir Bellerose, Charlie Andrews, Josh Bailey, Jason Clare, Carter Higgins, Tkia King, Martina Knappett, Amy Morris, Alyssa Mousseau, Jenaya Pynn, Isaac Sandri.

Basketball - Quinn Mirau, Max Reed, Madeline Hart, Natasha Jensen, Olivia Mjaaland.

Beach volleyball - Megan Bell, Kendal Wuerch, Carlena Chahley, Kaitlyn Franklin.

Field lacrosse - Hunter Gackstatter, Johnnie Grais, Jamie McKay.

Golf - Andrew Foglietta.

Lacrosse - Ben Cawthorne.

Paddling - Ulysse Asselin-Debelic, Danielle Caron, Nicole Darlington, Ianna Folkes, Jeremy Kelly Morris, Ayla Mark, Jade Minor, Cameron Antifave.

Rowing - Aaron Christie, Natasha Rygnestad- Stahl, Gavin Cameron, Tara Christiansen.

Rugby - Lucas DeVries.

Soccer - Peter Koltronis, Yazmin Barrientos, Cara Dunlop, Ashley Marshall, Chelsea Smidts, Sarah Zuccaro.

Softball - Hailey Kjaer.

Swimming - Amanda Assen, Gage DellaRosa, Kara Wilson, Andrew Frenchy, Brandon Bell.

Synchronized swimming - Paige Wilson, Montanna Beaumont, Sonja Ferg, Kelsi Kuemper, Camrynn Myronuk, Alex Ohlson, Maya Scott-Bradley, Sarah Warsh.

Towed water sports - Emily Krytor, Emma McNicol.

Volleyball - Brady Andjelkovic, Jeff Webb, Shelby Dorman-Banks, Marika Grubac, Kelsey Hutt.

Wrestling - Kyle Clare, Tyler Falk-Chalmers, Avery Gibson, Cameron Liptrot, Faye Tuck.

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