KAMLOOPS — Sunday marked the final day for competition for the hundreds of athletes in the city for the 2018 BC Winter Games. Laura Hall, Isaiah Jessie Uribe, and Martina Antifay made up three-quarters of the Zone 2 short track 3000-metre relay team. All three athletes shared similar thoughts on what made the BC Winter Games such a special competition.
“For me, it’s been the team experience,” Antifay told CFJC Today. “Like, getting to stay and laugh and have memories you get to carry from the team.”
“You get to know people more than usual at a normal skating meet,” Uribe said. “You get to stay with people in a school, share the same space, so you get to enjoy the meet a little more.”
Hall echoed her teammate's sentiments: “Staying at the school as a team is fun because you get to can get to know the other skaters and athletes better.”
With all the hardware that’s been handed out here at the BC Winter Games, these athletes have been able to take that next step in their athletic careers. Careers which many hope one day culminates in a trip to the Winter Olympics. Especially considering the success Canadian athletes have had on the long blades.
Canada won 8 medals in all on the speed skating ice - 2 in Long Track and an impressive 5 in short track, including a silver and two bronze by Canada’s closing ceremony flag bearer Kim Boutin.
“There are some Kamloops athletes that have skated here and gone to the Olympics,” Antifay explained. “It’s like, wow, they were here and skated exactly where I skated, so it’s possible to get there.”
For Uribe: “Right now, Canada is my home country, so I can just enjoy what [the athletes] are doing. I feel proud of how they’re doing.”
“They go through the same system and do the same meets as you’re doing now,” Hall said. “You’re like, hey, I could be there someday.”
For Isaiah watching the action from PyeongChang was extra special. 2018 marked the first time a South American speed skater was able to take part in the Winter Olympics - even more special since the two have trained together in the off-season.
“To see that the first [Colombian] athlete [to compete at the Winter Games] is a speed skater, that makes me really proud,” Isaiah said. “Plus I’ve trained with him, so I know him and he’s a really good person. By watching him there, it gives me the courage to be the next Colombian to go to the Winter Olympics for speed skating.”
The team was in tough in their relay, against some strong competition from the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Valley teams; each skater did their part, securing a silver medal performance for the Zone 2 athletes.
And with the 2018 BC Winter Games coming to an end, they were sure to savour their time at the rink, while dreaming of what lays in store for their athletic futures.
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