Locals off to ‘mini Olympics’

Four from the Whitewater Ski Team will race at BC Games at Silverstar later this month

Young athletes from across the province are preparing for the BC Winter games this month vying for top spots in their respective disciplines. However, for the four members of the Whitewater Ski Team who will be racing in Vernon, it’s just another opportunity for a memorable experience.

“It’s a huge achievement just to get to the BC Winter Games, so as far as goals with their performance when they’re there, I don’t want to build up any big expectations for them,” said Dylan Henderson, Whitewater Ski Team head coach.

“I want them to go there and have fun and just have a great experience.”

The four young Whitewater athletes made the Kootenay team along with skiers from Rossland, Kimberley, Fernie and Panorama.

“They’re absolutely thrilled, as far as an experience with any of the sports that they’ve done up to this point, this is the biggest event that they will have gone to and they’re very excited,” said Henderson.

The Whitewater Ski Team head coach said he helped prepare his skiers mentally and physically for the qualifying races at both Kimberley and Panorama, but attending the BC Games wasn’t a big focus for the team.

“Going into it I didn’t pump them up too much because I didn’t know how many were going to make it in and for the ones that didn’t make it in I didn’t want to let them down at all,” he said, adding that once the four qualified he started to explain what it was they actually qualified for and both the parents and kids were astonished.

“It’s quite amazing. The athletes pay a small amount that’s required and then everything else is covered by the provincial government… it’s really like a mini Olympics,” he said.

“We’re very proud, she’s worked very hard and we’re so glad that she has this opportunity to show her best,” said Brenda Mitchell, whose daughter Haley, 11, will be attending the Games.

Along with Haley, Whitewater’s Savannah Leishman, 12, Jesse Thurston, 11, and Liam Jones, 11, will be racing in Vernon late February.

“With skiers at this age I’m very careful setting up goals like qualifying for events like this because they’ve got a lot of years ahead of them in the program and I don’t want to discourage any athletes that didn’t qualify,” said Henderson.

“The athletes that didn’t qualify this time could be the ones qualifying for major events in a year or two… there’s a lot of stages within athletic development and at this young age I just don’t want to build them up too much with pressure to perform.”

“It wasn’t one of my long term goals [to make it to the BC Games] but I’m quite happy that I made it in,” said Jones, adding that he’s just going to try and do his best at the event.

The young athletes said they’re just “taking it as it comes,” and while qualifying for the event wasn’t necessarily what most of them were focusing on this season, they’re excited for the experience.

“I want them to be realistic about why they’re doing the sport, which is for the fun of it and for the team aspect,” said Henderson.

“Later on these sorts of goals of making events is all part of personal development within the sport, but at this point I really want a team atmosphere and a supportive environment for all the athletes on the team.”

Just Posted

Kootenay fires grow — more evacuation alerts

Syringa fire prompts evacuation alerts plus HWY 3 closure and U.S. fire crosses into B.C.

Evacuation alert for Syringa and Deer Park

The Syringa Creek Fire grew Saturday resulting in evacuation alerts.

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Smoke scraps MS Bike Challenge

The annual fundraising event cancelled its cycling Saturday because of poor air quality

Bent On Art Festival gives Kootenay Pride a creative outlet

The festival runs Aug. 27 to Sept. 2 during Pride festivities

VIDEO: Auto repair shop celebrates Nelson mural festival

A painting by Barry Overn at Downtown Automotive turned heads at the festival opening.

Pope on sex abuse: “We showed no care for the little ones”

In response to the Pennsylvania report, Francis labeled the misconduct “crimes”

Ottawa announces $189M to extend employment insurance for seasonal workers

The pilot project provides seasonal workers with up to five more weeks of benefits

Trump rages on Mueller following Times report

Trump takes to Twitter calling Robert Mueller “disgraced and discredited”

BC Wildfire crew rescues lost puppies

They were just leaving the Monashee Complex of fires when they found the cutest creatures.

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

More than 800,000people have been displaced by floods and landslides

IndyCar driver Wickens flown to hospital after scary crash

IndyCar said Wickens was awake and alert as he was taken to a hospital

Ex-BCTF president ‘undeterred’ after early release from pipeline protest jail term

Susan Lambert and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson released early

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

Seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians and 2.3 per cent identify as vegans

Most Read