Sunday, February 16, 2014

Community Sports

Getting Their Axels Together

Special Olympics figure skating qualifiers

Staff/Voice photos


Pairs Level 3 skates Marc Theriault and Tamika Broere perform at Prospera Centre last weekend. Below, Mens Level 1 Jeff Leung is happy to be skating.


ome Special Olympics athletes may not get around as easy as others, but strap on a pair of skates and they fly. 


Last weekend, dozens of skaters from Abbotsford and around the Fraser Valley took part in the BC Coast Regional WinterSkate qualifiers competition at Prospera Centre.


Special Olympics figure skaters had one of the rinks to themselves where they showed off their well-honed skills featuring strength, precision, artistry as well as their interpretation of rhythm and tempo of music through dance steps on the ice.


Special Olympics figure skating was started in 1977 and has proven to be very popular over the years with athletes and supporters. From 2005-11 the sport saw a 40 per cent increase in participation. In 2011, there were 7,304 athletes who skated in various competitions.


Figure skating is on of the few judged Special Olympics sports. Athletes can compete in Singles Competitions, Pair Skating and Ice Dancing. The program strives to follow curriculum developed by Skate Canada, CanSkate and StarSkate.


Women's Level 1 skater Leah Mak put on her best performance.



According to a Special Olympics fact sheet there’s more to the competitions than just winning.


“Athletes in every sport and event are grouped by age, gender, and ability giving everyone a reasonable chance to win. At Special Olympics there are no World Records because each athlete, whether in the fastest or the slowest division is valued and recognized equally. In every division, all athletes receive an  award, from gold, silver, and bronze medals, to fourth through eighth place ribbons. This idea of equal ability groupings is the foundation for competition in Special Olympics and can be witnessed at all events, whether it’s athletics, aquatics, table tennis, football, skiing, or gymnastics. All athletes are given an equal chance to participate, perform, and be recognized for doing their best by their teammates, family, friends, and fans.”



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