Special Olympians deliver at regionals

The performance of 34 local athletes at the Special Olympic regional spring games in Thunder Bay last weekend was so red hot, the fire alarm went off.
“We had a little incident while handing out the medals [at the Victoria Inn],” said regional co-ordinator Gaby Hanzuk, who accompanied the team with Jim Zucchiatti and Sandy Pruys.
“It was cause for a lot of excitement. It definitely gave us something to talk about on the bus ride home,” she added.
It turned out to be a false alarm and everyone was fine—and it certainly didn’t dampen the fact every local athlete managed to come home with ribbons and medals.
The floor hockey team earned the silver medal, losing out to Thunder Bay in the final, while eight bowling teams in the five- and 10-pin competitions either finished either first, second, or third (full results were not available).
The events in Thunder Bay were the farthest these athletes can go since this year wasn’t a qualifying one for the provincials.
But members of the Northwestern Ontario team that will compete at the provincial Winter Games on Jan. 30-Feb. 4, 2003 in Barrie were officially announced.
Heading the list of local talent qualifying was the mixed curling rink of Anita Hahkala (skip), Ray Bedard (third), Danny Smith (second), and Lisa Gushulak and Lawrence Mason (leads).
Arlan Scott made the cross-country ski team based on his gold-medal performance here in February, while Carrie Jolicoeur and Joyce Gosselin made the team based on their strong runs in the snowshoe event.
“It was an excellent result for Fort Frances,” noted Zucchiatti, the local Winter Games co-ordinator.
Meanwhile, this summer will bring even more challenges to the Special Olympians as they begin softball and track and field for the regional Summer Games in Terrace Bay on July 5-7.
Bedard and Dave Ducasse (who earn qualifying berths last year) also will join Team Ontario for the nationals in Prince Albert, Sask.