Winter Games

Winter Games: a week of accomplishment and sportsmanship

By Michelle Martin and Melanie Reader
Pasadena Academy
Pasadena, Newfoundland


The first week of the Canada Winter Games is now at a close and it has been one very exciting and surprising week.

There were many winners, including Newfoundland's Lee Churchill, who went on to win three gold medals in the individual cross-country skiing.

Krista O'Brien also from Newfoundland made it all the way to the bronze medal match in judo. She won Newfoundland's fourth medal, a bronze, despite an unfortunate injury. There was also a remarkable showing from the Quebec team in fencing with the "three muskateers" going undefeated.

From our experiences, the Canada Winter Games are not only about who wins the gold medals, but many other aspects as well. Some of these are sportsmanship, support from teammates, and intense competition. No matter what sport we attended, from ringette, to fencing, to artistic gymnastics, we saw these qualities in every athlete.
 We spent the entire week hiking from venue to venue in hopes of discovering an interesting story, and not realizing that it was right under our noses: the qualities of the Canada Games athletes. We went to artistic gymnastics, fencing, ringette, table tennis, and freestyle skiing.


Artistic gymnastics is probably one of the most exciting sports to watch. While watching the men's competitions, we realized that athletes do not give up when there's an obstacle standing in their way. A team member from P.E.I. was injured during his routine on the parallel bars. With still two more rotations to go, he tried his best to continue on. On the high bar, he had an impressive routine and tried his hardest to land. Though he didn't land well, he did not stop there. The floor was next and he did what he could and the spectators noticed his courage and showed their support with enormous applause. We were extremely impressed by him and he showed one of the most important qualities of a Canada Games athlete.

During the week, we also went to see fencing. The two of us were quite a pair when we walked into Memorial University and realized that we had absolutely knowledge about this sport. Fortunately for us, there were many people who were willing to help us out. Jordan Smith, a member of the men's épée team from Saskatchewan, explained the rules and techniques of fencing to us. This just goes to show that the athletes are willing to make their particular sport more accessible to the public.
   We also learned about sportsmanship from our viewing of fencing. When Elise Lassond won the gold for the female individual épée, she showed outstanding sportsmanship towards her opponent, Marion Laurence from Nova Scotia. She gave her a gigantic hug, which was acknowledged and applauded by everyone there.
Ringette was one of the most competitive sports we saw. The girls showed how competitive they were by focussing their energy entirely on the game. They also showed support for each other by giving an encouraging hug whether they were losing or winning.

We didn't know what to expect when we attended table tennis. Surprisingly enough, we were fascinated by the endurance of the young athletes some whom were only eleven years old. One of these athletes was Loren Hung of Saskatchewan who greatly impressed us. Despite his small stature, he showed an amazing performance demonstrating his incredible skill at the sport.

 Lastly, the freestyle aerials was the place to be during this first week of the games. The designated spectator area was jam-packed with people of all ages. When we attempted to get something for lunch, we could hardly make our way through the crowds in the lodge! With the tremendous support from the public, all of the athletes were able to fly high and showed great performances. If anyone wonders why this event is so popular, they only need to check out some of the shots that accompany this story.


Overall, this week has been one of many new experiences for us. We learned about fencing and sports that we knew little about, and the many positive qualities that were demonstrated by all the athletes of all of their sports. Hopefully, we will experience some of the same aspects and maybe many others next week. So look for more of our impressions of The 1999 Canada Winter Games, from the west Coast of Newfoundland, here at SNN!