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1968 The year Special Olympics was founded

by Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

30 official members

of the Special Olympics Champions Network

Team Canada

July 30 recap: Team Canada Powerlifters Thrive on Support


Led by the three gold medals earned by powerlifter Joanne Bunnin in Canada’s first day of competition in her sport, Special Olympics Team Canada captured another 19 medals on July 30 and achieved many personal bests. Eight of the 10 Team Canada sports were in action yesterday.

In the first powerlifting competition for Canadian athletes, B.C.’s Joanne Bunnin shone, winning three gold medals (bench press, dead lift, combination bench and dead lift). In dead lift she set a personal best at 120 kg – her intent weight had been 117.5, but her coach bumped it to a personal best and she nailed it. In bench she equalled her personal best at 52.5 kg (which was her intent weight).

Bunnin said she was very nervous before her first lift, but she calmed down with deep breathing and positive self talk, telling herself “I can do it” just like her accomplished Team Canada teammate Jackie Barrett does, and listening to her coaches helping her focus. Then she went out and nailed her lifts with beautiful confidence and power.

“Now I can go home with a gold and show everyone what I did!” she said after her lifts, absolutely delighted.

The powerlifting team attended Bunnin’s competition to cheer her on, and Barrett roared for Bunnin before each lift, calling her B.C. Lion (because of her home province’s CFL team) and encouraging her to “lift it over the Rockies!”

The soccer team earned a 1-1 tie against Australia with a goal by Adam Advocaat and super netminding by keeper Mitchell Howell, both of B.C. With a competition record of 0-1-2, the team are heading into the bronze-medal game Friday, July 31.

Canada’s first-ever basketball team at a Special Olympics World Games finished competition play with a thriller of a game against Belgium. The lead seesawed back and forth, and the score was tied very late in the game before Belgium broke out and scored to win 34-31. Special Olympics Team Canada basketball will now play for bronze on Friday, July 31, getting a rematch against Belgium.

After taking a huge lead of 11-0 in the first inning, the Special Olympics Team Canada softball team, the Grizzlies, held on to beat USA Missouri 15-14 on July 30. They were undefeated in competition play and will play a semifinal on Friday, July 31, to determine whether they will advance into Saturday’s gold- or bronze-medal game.

After two days of divisioning and one day of competition play, the Special Olympics Team Canada golfers are in good shape going into the fourth and final day of play on Friday, looking like medal contenders.

Heading into today’s final round, Tess Trojan and Lorraine Russell of Ontario sat in first and second, respectively, in their division of Level 4 play, and Danny Peaslee of Manitoba and Kyle Koopman of Ontario were second and fourth in their division of Level 4 play. Level 4 golfers are playing nine holes. In Level 5 18-hole play, B.C.’s Kyle Grummett sat fourth heading into today, just four strokes back from the division leader.

Athletics athletes won six medals and continued to attain terrific personal bests and season-high performances. This is the third Special Olympics World Games for track and field athlete Catherine Partlow of Whitby, Ontario, and the veteran was in fantastic form, delivering a dominating performance in the 100-metre sprint to win gold.

Also in fine form was Quebec athlete Audrey Vincent, who won Canada’s first medal of the day, gold in the 3,000m run, with a brilliant tactical race that Team Canada’s athletics Head Coach Aleila Miller called one of the best races she has ever seen anywhere.

The track and field team’s other terrific performances were:

  • Robert Burns of B.C., the consummate gentleman, won gold in standing long jump and silver in 50m sprint;
  • Stéphane Daguerre of Ontario won silver and Olivier Lizotte of Quebec finished seventh in the 3,000m run;
  • Jennifer Riddell of Alberta and Marianne Scharf of Ontario finished second and fourth, respectively, in the 800m run;
  • Ontario’s Sandi Mercier earned an eighth-place finish in her 100m race; and
  • pentathlete Ryan Kneisz competed in three of his five finals and finishes competition on Friday.

Swimmers earned another six medals. With their July 30 medals in the 100m IM, Julia Longo of Ontario, Elliott Moskowy of Alberta, and David Tatta of New Brunswick have earned four medals each in Los Angeles. Longo won gold, Moskowy silver, and Tatta bronze. Moskowy and Tatta were in the same division. Tatta’s final time was six seconds better than his time in divisioning.

Swimmer Mary Jean Lawson of Alberta, winner of a silver medal in 25m backstroke on July 30, has been highlighted by the Games Organizing Committee as the eldest athlete competing in swimming, at 53 years of age. Lawson swam a great backstroke race, giving that little bit extra to come out with silver in a tight field, and she was overcome with joy and pride at winning a World Games medal, welling up on the podium.

Also in the pool yesterday, Magnus Batara of B.C. and Matthew Hunter of Nova Scotia finished 1-2 in their 100m butterfly division, and Carrie Dignan of B.C. swam to sixth in 25m backstroke in the same heat as Lawson.

Team Canada’s 10-pin bowlers earned four medals in singles competition. Annabelle Davis of Vancouver and Jenna Smith of PEI won gold; these two talented players have captured three gold medals each at the 2015 World Games, with their success in singles, doubles, and team play. Ashleigh Pagnotta of Ontario and Kara Summer of B.C. won silver medals.

The remainder of yesterday’s singles bowlers achieved fourth place, sixth place, and two sixth-place results.

Outlook for Friday, July 31:

  • The soccer team will play for bronze at 10 a.m. PST, and the basketball team plays for bronze at 10:30 a.m. PST.
  • The remainder of 10-pin bowling singles competition takes place today.
  • Bunnin’s powerlifting teammates André Goulet and Paul Perreault of Ontario compete today, and Jackie Barrett of Newfoundland and Labrador on Saturday.
  • Special Olympics Team Canada bocce athletes resume play – due to scheduling changes they wound up having yesterday off, and are raring to go in doubles.

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!