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Team Canada

July 29 recap: Special Olympics Team Canada a powerhouse in the pool and on the track


Special Olympics Team Canada swimmers had a perfect day in the pool on July 29: In nine events, they earned seven gold medals, one silver, and one fourth-place finish with a personal best! With athletics team tearing up the track (and field), and the basketball, golf, and softball teams doing Canada proud with their play, Canada had another awesome day at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games and took the overall medal tally to 67 to date.

Elliott Moskowy of Alberta earned his third gold medal of the Games by capturing gold in his division in the 200-metre freestyle. His previous two came in the 100m freestyle and 4×100 medley relay. Moskowy has become known by his coaches for his hard work in training and his dedication to significantly improving his fitness and strength over the last year to be in tip-top shape for the World Games.

Moskowy has a history of medal magic: He says his proudest accomplishments to date are winning five gold medals at the 2010 Provincial Games; four golds and one silver in 2011; three silver and two gold in 2013; and five gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze medal at the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games in Vancouver, the World Games qualifier.

Also earning their way onto the podium were:

  • Gold: Valérie Gagnon-Paradis of Quebec, 25m butterfly
  • Gold: Avery Newton of B.C., 200m freestyle
  • Gold: Amanda Schleppe of B.C., 50m backstroke
  • Gold: Lexie Senior of Ontario, 50m backstroke
  • Gold: David Tatta of New Brunswick, 200m freestyle – the team’s only athlete from N.B.
  • Gold: women’s 4x50m medley relay – April Lam of Alberta, Julia Longo of Ontario, Meagan Michie of Ontario, Kelsey Wyse of B.C.
  • Silver: Julia Longo, 200m freestyle
  • 4th: Mark Epelon of Yellowknife, NT, 50m backstroke, with a personal-best time. At age 14, Epelon is one of the team’s youngest athletes and the only athlete from the Northwest Territories.

The Special Olympics Team Canada swimmers are backed by coaches who have a combined 165 years of experience!

The successful day in athletics was headed by Quebec’s Sylvain Forest, who earned two gold medals in 200m and 400m.

In the 200m, three Team Canada men finished 2-3-4 behind an athlete from the Bahamas. Robert Pipitone of Ontario won silver, Peter Snider of Ontario captured bronze, and Gabriel Dupuy of Quebec sprinted to fourth place. All three are great competitors and great teammates who encourage each other.

Alberta’s Katie Saunders won silver in 400m run. A hardworking athlete and an Athlete Representative on the Special Olympics Canada Board of Directors, Saunders has previously competed in two World Winter Games in speed skating, but this is her first World Summer Games. She achieved a personal-best time in this event in both divisioning and the final – just kept getting better and better.

Saunders said earning the World Summer Games medal feels “amazing.”

B.C.’s Jeneka Greif won bronze in women’s shot put, overcoming significant nerves to do so. She was joyful in competition, dancing before every shot and high-fiving all the other athletes who made the podium with her. Her bronze-medal-winning throw was her second-best ever – bettered only by her distance in divisioning for this event.

B.C.’s Mike Palitti and P.E.I.’s John Paynter picked up a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 400m and 200m, respectively, and Palitti also achieved a fifth-place finish in the 200m. Ontario’s Sandi Mercier and Catherine Smith threw their way to sixth place in the women’s shot put.

July 29 also saw the Special Olympics Team Canada Grizzlies softball team win their first competition game 16-10 over Mexico, golfers completed divisioning play, and the basketball team netted a 42-15 loss to the Republic of Korea.

In the softball game, the bat of Kelowna’s Dale Ramsden was on fire. He hit a home run, two doubles and a single. Listen to interviews with team members Brad Hogan and Chris Roberge of Comox Valley on hometown radio station 98.9 The Goat: http://www.mycomoxvalleynow.com/10055/valley-athletes-shine-at-2015-special-olympics-world-summer-games/

The Special Olympics Team Canada 10-pin bowlers had a day off from competition on July 29, where they received their team and doubles medals. They are back in action on July 30 with the start of singles finals.

Six bowlers are now double gold medallists from the team and doubles events: Steven Beaucage and Toufic Irani of Quebec, Jessica Castronovo and Ashleigh Pagnotta of Ontario, Annabelle Davis of B.C., and Jenna Smith of P.E.I.

“I’m speechless, really,” Smith told the Journal Pioneer (hyperlink http://www.journalpioneer.com/Sports/2015-07-28/article-4228763/UPDATED%3A-Smith-wins-double-gold/1) just after hearing about her big double win. Her first reaction to the news?  “I screamed, actually!”

“All of my scores were over 100 [on Tuesday],” she said. “I was really pleased with that. I was like, ‘Oh my God!’”

Special Olympics Team Canada’s powerlifting team begins competition on July 30 with Joanne Bunnin of B.C. lifting starting at 9 a.m. PST. Ontario’s André Goulet and Paul Perreault will compete Friday, July 31, and Jackie Barrett of Newfoundland and Labrador will close out competition on Saturday, August 1.

Athletics and swimming finals continue on July 30, and the bocce players will be back in action with doubles competition. Basketball, soccer, and softball teams will play their last round-robin competition games before the medal rounds begin on July 30.

Follow Special Olympics Team Canada’s results: http://teamcanada.specialolympics.ca/results/

Check out Special Olympics Team Canada photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/92082000@N03/albums

Follow @SpecialOCanada #SOTeamCanada15 #ÉquipeOSCanada15 for live updates throughout the World Games!