St. Pierre et Miquelon Participates in Nfld. & Labrador Summer Games
by D. Tobin, Gonzaga High School, St. John's NF
with assistance from SNN/RDR staff

This year's Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games were truly unique. It marked the first time that the french islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon participated in this Province's Summer Games. The islands, just off the coast of Newfoundland have participated throughout the years in various sporting events and have standing memberships in several provincial sports governing bodies such as soccer.

St. Pierre et Miquelon Athletes   St. Pierre et Miquelon Tennis Coach
Photos: SchoolNet News Network

On August 22nd, RDR reporter Sébastien Nantel had a chance to speak with Jean-Paul Bouillie, St-Pierre et Miquelon athletism coach about participating in the Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games. The following is a brief summary of his conversation with M. Bouillie.

Jean-Paul Bouillie noted that the St-Pierre et Miquelon athletism team is participating in the Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games for the first time ever. It's also the first time that they compete outside of their island.

He stated that the team members are used to running on roads and streets in their home island of St-Pierre, but due to the lack of facilities they don't have experience running on a track. The five members have only been training since July. Ludivine Quedinet, the only girl in the team, earned a bronze medal in the shot put event.

Since St-Pierre et Miquelon does not have an athletism program, the young athletes and their coach had to get organized by themselves. He stated that they are, however, used to races since every year their home island holds an event called 'The 25 kilometers of Miquelon'. This event allows 250 to 300 runners from all over America and Europe to compete and fraternize in a charming and hospitable setting.

The St-Pierre et Miquelon athletism team enjoyed their Summer Games experience very much and do not intend to wait another four years to come back to Newfoundland.

The team from St. Pierre et Miquelon consisted of approximately 76 people including athletes, support group and reporters from the islands' radio and television stations. The St. Pierre athletes competed in swimming, track and field, tennis, soccer and mens baseball.

While the participation of St. Pierre et Miquelon added some initial challenges for the Games Host Committee, Chairman Bob Hillier stated "the people of St. Pierre have been extremely co-operative. They haven't been easy to work with. They have been super-easy to work with. As well we have been fortunate in having the people in the provincial government's French language services providing us with translation services."

According to several coaches from St. Pierre, the athletes and coaches were thrilled to be a participant and they look forward to participating again in four years time - at the next Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games.

Games Host Chairman Hillier stated, "Based upon what has happened with this year's Games, if I was asked by the provincial government about what I thought about St. Pierre's long term participation, I would say that it was the right thing to do".

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