FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The weather in Fort St. John last night was cold and unwelcoming, but for zone eight athletes who returned from Penticton after competing at the B.C. Winter Games, their welcome back to town was the complete opposite. Greeted by family, friends, and other supporters, athletes exchanged hugs for stories and showing off their medals from the event.
Zone eight speed skating coach Jennifer Gibson said the games provide competitors with their first glimpse as to how they compare to others from the province.
“This is their first games experience. It’s a stepping stone to future games that they may be qualifying for in their career. It’s an opportunity for the kids to interact and meet other athletes from around the province in so many different sports and get to have a fun experience with other athletes and coaches,” she said.
Given the young age of the athletes it would be understandable if anyone was feeling the pressure of competition, however Gibson said coaches play a role in keeping the games in perspective as do the parents who go along for the trip.
“That’s part of the coaching staff and parent chaperones that come with us. We just try to make it as enjoyable of an experience as we can and make sure they are getting proper rest, proper sleep, and eating well,” she said.
As for the speed skaters, those from Fort St. John had a strong showing. Josh Telizyn won silver in the U14 200 metre pursuit, and the U14 relay also won silver consisting of Telizyn, Michelle Kalkman, Yuna Lovell, and a Prince George skater.
The full results for all athletes from around the region can be seen by clicking on the provided attachment.