Sunday marked the end of the XXV Canada Games in Prince George, B.C, one of the major events in this Year of Sport.
The 13th edition of the Winter Games were a career highlight for some athletes and a launchpad to further greatness for others. But it was most definitely a fun and rewarding experience for all.
So what were the standout moments and performances?
Well, Team Quebec led the standings with 141 medals (62 gold, 39 silver, 40 bronze).
In all, 12 of the provinces and territories won medals. The only exception was Nunavut.
But the big team prize is the Canada Games Flag, won by Ontario, who capped the Games with the men’s hockey gold. The Canada Games recognize that some sports award more medals than others, so points are awarded to every athlete in every sport based on their results. This acknowledges the true strength and depth of a province or territory in a particular sport. Each sport is then given equal weighting in tabulating the overall flag points.
New Brunswick captured the Centennial Cup, given to the province or territory showing the greatest improvement since the last Winter Games.
But these multi-sport games are not just about standing on the podium. The Canada Games also reward the province or territory that best combines competitive performance with good sportsmanship and the spirit of fair play. This year the Jack Pelech Award went to Team Yukon.
Of the 19 sports on the Canada Games program, one ended up being contested well outside of Prince George. Unseasonably warm weather made it impossible to skate on the outdoor oval, so a contingency plan was enacted. The 63 long track speed skaters were flown 45 minutes away to Fort St. John (hometown of four-time Olympic medallist Denny Morrison) where they were lucky enough to race on one of the four indoor ovals in North America.
That led to a near-complete overall of the Canada Games record book, including Sara Spence obliterating older sister Victoria’s 3000m record by more than 11 seconds.
Speaking of carrying on family tradition… Sara England won a bronze medal in curling with Team Saskatchewan. Her last name may not ring any bells but she is the daughter of 1998 Olympic champion and curling legend Sandra Schmirler.
What future Olympians got their first taste of a multi-sport games in Prince George? Only time will tell. But they will do so with the last two weeks of competition in their back pocket.