Athlete brings home the gold

Shelly Poland

Cross-country ski athlete Shelly Poland travelled to Kelowna March 3-5 to compete with athletes from all across the province in the 2011 Special Olympics Winter Sport Provincial Championship at Telemark Ski Area. Shelly raced the 500 metre and 1 km races earning a gold and silver medal respectively. Shelly has gained confidence and speed beating her 1 km time of last year by four minutes (amazing since three years ago Shelly had never even been on skis!). Shelly says what she likes most about skiing is skiing fast, crossing the finish line and winning medals! Shelly works hard at every practice and is determined to succeed. She practices one to two times a week and does dry land training and exercises at home for extra practice. Shelly was the only cross-country ski competitor from Region 1, which includes many eastern B.C. communities.   Special Olympic competitions run on a four-year cycle with Regionals being held year one, Provincials year two, Nationals year three and Worlds year four. It isn’t all work though; the highlight of every competition is the awards ceremonies, the banquet and the dance or in this case karoake. Competitions are a wonderful opportunity for Special Olympic athletes to meet each other and compete with athletes of similar abilities.

Thank you Ned, our local co-ordinator, Sue, Carmen, Betty and Wendy and the parents for their help in teaching and motivating our Special Olympians! We have four athletes currently in the cross-country ski program and others involved in summer sports. Special Olympics is a worldwide organization that aims to provide individuals with intellectual disabilities opportunities to enrich their lives and celebrate personal achievement through positive sport experiences. There are over 3700 athletes, 2600 volunteers, and 18 sports offered in 55 communities all over B.C. If you want to help contribute to the Golden Special Olympics program in either a volunteer or sponsor capacity please contact Ned Johnson, the local co-ordinator at 250-344-5524 or email:

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