Nordic Skiing

Cheer on our nordic skiing athletes as they go for gold in Austria in 2017.

Athletes

Allie Libertini
ON

Allie has been involved with Special Olympics for 7-years. In addition to alpine skiing, Allie participates in athletics, basketball and powerlifting. She says some of her greatest accomplishments so far are participating in duathlons (run-bike-run) and making it to National Games. Special Olympics has helped Allie feel happy and excited and allowed her to meet new people and stay healthy and fit. She’s extremely proud to represent her country on the world stage and is thrilled with all the skills she’s been working on.

Goal for Austria 2017: “My goal is being a good team leader and to help with team spirit!”

Dennis Lynch
BC

Dennis, a 29-year veteran of Special Olympics programs, is proud to represent Canada on the world stage when he gets to Austria. In addition to cross-country skiing, Dennis loves to swim, bowl, play soccer and softball and loves to curl. Dennis says attending the Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games has been one of his life’s greatest accomplishments. Special Olympics has helped Dennis get into shape and lose weight.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Represent Canada and meet new people.”

Elouise Stewart
AB

A 16-year veteran of Special Olympics programs, Elouise is excited to be going to her second World Games, having first experienced the world stage in South Korea. In addition to her love of cross-country skiing, Elouise is active and enjoys athletics, bowling, soccer, softball, tennis and cycling. She says some of her greatest accomplishments so far are winning 3 gold medals at her last national games. Special Olympics has allowed Elouise to be able to communicate and socialize and she is excited and ready for the big responsibility of representing her country in Austria.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To learn to relax and have fun!”

Ernest Chua
YT

Ernest hails from Whitehorse, Yukon and has been cross- country skiing with Special Olympics for 16-years. In addition to cross-country, Ernest loves to figure skate, swim, bowl, golf and participate in athletics. Ernest credits Special Olympics with allowing him to be more independent, confident and feel good about himself. When he’s not playing sports, Ernest loves to play Sudoku and play anything with numbers.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To achieve a personal best.”

Francis Stanley
BC

Francis Stanley hails from West Kelowna, BC and has been involved with Special Olympics for 6 years. This will be his first World Games and he is proud and thinks it is “awesome.” Special Olympics has helped Francis socialize and become more communicative. In addition to cross-country skiing, Francis loves to play basketball, soccer and floor hockey.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To eat some nice breakfasts and to have an awesome race.”

Jacqueline Gravel
ON

Jacqueline, from Port Elgin, Ontario, will be attending her first World Games for cross-country skiing and could not be more excited. In her own words, Jacqueline says “I believe in myself and going to World Games means everything to me, happy and ecstatic!” Special Olympics has helped Jacqueline meet new friends, feel accomplished and makes her feel like she’s done something in her life. When she’s not training or participating in sports, she loves to knit, and create jewelry.

Goal for Austria 2017: “My goal is to try my very best to improve on my times and maybe even get a medal for all my hard work!”

Justin Sigal
BC

Justin, a resident of Vernon, BC, has been involved with Special Olympics for 8-years. In addition to cross-country skiing, Justin loves to bowl , cycle and play golf. His greatest accomplishment so far has been winning gold in the 2.5km race and a silver medal in the 5km at the Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Special Olympics has helped Justin be more active and has given him different experiences. Going to Austria means the world to Justin and he is excited to have fun and try his best.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Represent Canada/Vernon, BC and do my best.”

Kristen Hudson
AB

Kristen is thrilled with being named to Team Canada and is excited to be attending a World Games for the very first time. As well as cross-country skiing, Kristen loves to play soccer and downhill ski. A resident of Edmonton, Alberta, Kristen loves to play outside, running, rollerblading and biking when she’s not participating in Special Olympics programs. Special Olympics has helped Kristen to meet different people and make new friends.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Try my best in the races. Try to not be nervous and work hard in my training.”

Michael Roy

Mike Roy hails from the nation’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario and has been involved with Special Olympics for 29-years. Mike is excited to go to the World Games in cross-country skiing, and says his greatest accomplishments so far are being able to play sports. When he’s not active, Mike loves to spend time doing jigsaw puzzles.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To win a medal.”

Sarah McCarthy
AB

Sarah has been involved with Special Olympics for 15-years, and will be embarking on her third World Games journey. In addition to cross-country skiing, Sarah loves to swim, powerlift and is involved in her local athletics program. Currently, Sarah is a swim instructor at her local YMCA. Special Olympics has helped Sarah become a more confident person and has helped her overcome her shyness. She now loves to meet new people and do her best.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Do a good job and have fun!”

Shane Stewart
AB

Shane Stewart hails from Canmore, Alberta and is an avid cross country skier. Shane will be embarking on his third World Games experience, having previously attended in 2009 and 2013. One of Shane’s greatest accomplishments is the 30+ medals he’s won over the course of his Special Olympics career. He credits Special Olympics with allowing him to meet and talk to new people and have fun. Attending the World Games in Austria will allow Shane to experience a different culture and hear different languages.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To try my best, lose my breath at the finish line and bring Canada more medals!”

Tracey Melesko
BC

Tracey is a veteran on the world stage and has previously been to 5 World Games, both winter and summer. Tracey hails from Kelowna, BC and in addition to her love of cross-country skiing; she enjoys athletics and competing at a higher level. Attending the World Games in Austria makes Tracey feel proud, and she’s excited to represent Canada and do her best. When she’s not playing sports, Tracey loves listening to music.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Going to World Games.”

Head Coach

Hellaina Rothenburg
ON

Cross Country ski coach Hellaina Rothenburg has been involved in Special Olympics programs in Barrie, Ontario since 1999. She was recruited for the 2000 National Winter Games in Ottawa, and continues to enjoy the Games experience. She spent several years coaching year-round, adding Athletics over the summer months – another sport for which she has attended several Provincial and National Games. A lifestyle athlete herself, Hellaina is proud to share her love of sport with the athletes, and encourage them to have opportunities at all levels, whether locally or on the world sporting stage. This is Hellaina’s first World Games, and she looks forward to meeting Special Olympics athletes and coaches from around the world.

Goals for Austria 2017: To make the country feel a little smaller through the team’s common love of sport and involvement in the organization.

Goal #2: To ensure each athlete has a quality experience in the lead-up to Games, and at Games, both for those attending their first Games and for the veterans

Female Coaches

Holly Burton
AB

Male Coaches

Ray Huson
BC

Ray has been involved with Special Olympics as a coach for 21 years. First as a snowshoe coach (which he still coaches) where he attended many regional meets, qualifiers, and Provincial Games and then was selected as an associated coach for the Provincial Team to attend the 2008 National Winter Games in Quebec City. Approximately 6 years ago he was approached to see if he would be willing to help out with nordic skiing. He was selected to be an associate coach for the 2012 National Winter Games in St. Albert, Alberta and for the 2016 National Winter Games in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Experiencing the enthusiasm, joy, and determination of the athletes to succeed is what Special Olympics means to him. He is very excited to be attending his first World Games and he is looking forward to the whole experience - a different culture, meeting and interacting with athletes, coaches, and volunteers from around the world.

Goal for Austria 2017:

Have the best trained and cohesive National Nordic Ski Team - ready to compete and able to set new personal best times and proud to be representing Special Olympics Canada.

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