Team Tomorrow is Team Terrific.
Many of the Island’s future competitors in the Olympics and Commonwealth and Pan Am Games will come out of the talented young group that performed over the past two weeks in the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg.
The closing ceremonies take place today after what has been a windfall, with a total of 45 Island athletes having won 65 medals. That easily eclipsed the total of 43 medals, which was still impressive, won by Island athletes at the last Canada Summer Games in 2013 at Sherbrooke, Que.
Saturday’s Island medallists included Aaron Diemer and Jovan Sihota of Victoria with bronze in men’s doubles to follow up their silver in mixed team tennis, and Ravi Manhas from the wrestling hotbed of Port Alberni with silver in 44 kilos. Victoria swimmers Jessica Luo, with her fifth medal of the Games, and Michael Schmidt, with his third, added relay bronze medals.
The B.C. women’s softball team, with NCAA San Jose State third-baseman Emma Entzminger of Victoria, was 8-1 in pool play and beat Ontario 3-1 Saturday in the medal round to advance to today’s gold-medal game against either Alberta or Ontario.
There are 92 Island athletes on a Team B.C. numbering 354 athletes competing in 16 sports in Winnipeg. Heading into the final few events today, before the closing ceremonies, B.C. is second in the tables with 141 medals, with Ontario first with 201 and Quebec third with 130. Alberta has 93 and Nova Scotia 49 to round out the top five.
The idea is to get athletes used to a multi-sport environment in which they dorm, eat and compete in an Athletes Village with competitors from numerous other sports.
It is part of a continuum that begins with the B.C. Games and continues through the Western Canada Games with the pinnacle being the Canada Games, which has been the gateway to international sport for so many Canadian athletes.
“My favourite part of the village is hanging out with other athletes and also the food has been spectacular. Not only that, we have been able to cheer on the [B.C.] volleyball teams,” said Keaton Gudz of Victoria, who won the team silver medal at the Games, on a B.C. golf squad that included fellow Royal Colwood member Nolan Thoroughgood and Tristan Mandur of Arbtus Ridge.
Gudz graduated in the spring from both Spectrum and the Canadian Sports School and is headed this fall to play in the NCAA Pac-12 for the Oregon State Beavers.
“I had nine Canadian Sports School classmates competing here at the Canada Games in various sports,” Gudz said of his school, which is under the auspices of School District 62, and operated by the Canadian Sport Institute-Pacific at its Interurban Road PISE campus.
It can be said, quite literally, the dream starts here.
Past Islanders who have competed in the Canada Games include Olympic-medallists Ryan Cochrane, Hilary Caldwell, Patricia Obee, Lindsay Jennerich, Olympians Steve Nash, Eli Pasquale, Gerald Kazanowski, Ian Bridge, Riley McCormick, Gary Reed, and other Island greats such as Gary and Paul Gait.