Many Olympic athletes got their start at BC Games

Twenty-four athletes on the Canadian Olympic team started their journey to London with a trip to the BC Games.

When the Olympic and Paralympic Games begin in London this Friday, there will be a number of Canadian athletes who will remember their first multi-sport experience at a BC Games.

Twenty-four athletes on the Canadian Olympic team started their journey to London with a trip to the BC Games, including 2008 Olympic gold-medallist Carol Huynh (wrestling) and recent Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal (cycling).

As part of the athlete development pathway, the BC Games are a first multi-sport experience for young athletes that lead toward provincial and national teams and ultimately the Olympic or Paralympic Games. Forty per cent of the Canadian Olympic team live or train in B.C.

Shot putter Dylan Armstrong of Kamloops is one of Canada’s great medal hopes at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Involved at a young age with the Kamloops Track and Field Club, he represented the Thompson-Okanagan Zone at the 1995 and 1996 BC Summer Games. Success as part of Team BC at the 2001 Canada Games was next before winning gold for Canada at the 2007 and 2010 Pan American Games. All eyes are on this BC Games alumnus to better his fourth-place finish from the 2008 Olympic Games.

Swimmer Brent Hayden of Mission is another medal contender in London. Hayden competed at the 1998 BC Summer Games and reflected, “The BC Summer Games was the point in my career when I realized that I had the potential to go further. It was soon after that that I decided to switch from being a summer swimmer to training all year round. It is clear that I wouldn’t have noticed my own potential without the BC Summer Games.”

The full Paralympic team will be named later this summer, but former BC Games athletes Bo Hedges of Fort St. John (wheelchair basketball) and Adam Rahier of Powell River (swimming) will be part of the team.

More than 2,300 athletes between the ages of 10 and 18 competed at the 2012 BC Summer Games last week, which kicked off just one week prior to the start of the Olympics. It is an inspiring experience that will ignite the dreams of many young athletes to pursue their sport to the highest level.

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Local BC Summer Games Results

Paige Wilson, Cedar

Synchronized swimming team, Zone 6 tier 2/3 team – Gold and tier 2/3 figures – 8th place.

Maria De Leeuw, Ladysmith

Girls 100m breaststroke, Zone 6 – Gold

Rachel Jerome, Ladysmith

Girls long jump, Zone 6 – 3rd place and Girls triple jump, Zone 6 – 3rd place.

Maximillian Cummings, Ladysmith

Boys Basketball team, Zone 6 – 6th place.

McKenzie Wakefield, Victoria (coached by Deborah Fox, Ladysmith)

Equestrian jumpers, Zone 6 – Bronze.

Kim Scott, Victoria (coached by Deborah Fox, Ladysmith)

Para-equestrian event 2 and 3, Zone 6 – Bronze.