Monday night, those attending Barrie City Council were greeted with a seat of athletic enthusiasts--and the athletes themselves!

Ian Pavlik, coach of the Ontario Olympic Alpine Racing Team introduced the athletes who are off to compete in February, 2008. The 2008 National Games are slated for a week at the end of February and 1000 athletes from all across Canada will converge on sites in and near Quebec City to compete.

There are 149 athletes from Ontario; eight of those are from Barrie.

Applause was heartfelt for these athletes who live by their creed: Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

It's a motto we could all benefit from, but these very special athletes live this motto to its last syllable.

This is a winter games, so these athletes are competing in events like Alpine Skiing, Snowshoeing, Curling, and Nordic Skiing. Several of these folks compete in more than one category and will compete in the summer National Games as well.

Anthony Johnson is a very active competitor with skill in Snowshoeing, Swimming, Track & Field, and Soccer. A three-year Snowshoe veteran, he'll represent Barrie in the Snowshoe category.

Jeff Pike is an all round athlete and this is his first National Winter Games competitioon. He's adept at Snowshoeing, Curling, 5-pin Bowling, Track & Field and Soccer. He's been perfecting his snowshoeing skills for the past six years.

Colleen Baker is a seven-year member of Barrie's Cross Country Ski Team and she also excels in Track & Field and 5-pin bowling. She'll represent Barrie for her first time in Nordic (Cross Country) Ski category. Colleen is an active volunteer for various organizations in the community.

Philip Lock is a natural athlete whose enthusiasms are Nordic Skiing in the winter and Track & Field in the summer. This is his first Nationals as a Nordic skier. Outside of sport, Phil is an avid theatre buff.

Kelly McKenna has won many trophies as an athlete in the Special Olympics. For 10 years, 23 year old Kelly has competed in Nordic skiing and Track & Field. She is currently involved in Nordic and Alpine skiing, Track & Field, Curling and 5-pin bowling. In 2003, Kelly was recognized by Special Olympics Barrie as Female Athlete of the Year. She's carrying this reputation with her as she competes in the Nordic Skiing category in Quebec City.

Nicholas Paribello has been competing for three years as a Special Olympics athlete and already has been named to Team Ontario. He's single focussed on Nordic skiing and that's his category in Quebec City. Sports is really a chief ingredient in Nicholas' life, thanks to his active family.

Jason Jones will be the Alpine ski competitor to look out for. A resident of New Lowell, Jason will travel with the Barrie team to represent Ontario at the Special Olympics Nationals.

While Martha Galloway loves Track & Field, she qualified in her first Alpine ski race for the Provincial Games. She has continued her Alpine winning streak in the Provincials and has qualified for the Nationals. Look for Martha's Track & Field prowess in the Summer Games.

And where would anyone be without dedicated, supportive, challenging coaches? Ian Pavlik heads up Alpine Skiing while Kathy McCaroll and Hellaina Rotherburg handle Nordic Skiing coach activities. Snowshoe coaches are Kathy and Michelle Pike.

Behind these athletes is a team of fundraising volunteers and families. You can bet they'll be at the race course in Quebec City, cheering on Barrie's best.

Special Olympics Ontario... Special Olympics Nationals... for participants with intellectual challenges and enough determination and heart to race to the top.

Thanks, athletes. Thanks for representing our community so well!


..........


Interested in helping?
Interested in donating?
Special Olympics Barrie
Suite 159 65 Cedar Pte Dr
Barrie ON L4N 9R3
www.osoinc.com

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