Snowshoeing

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

Athletes

Brianna Harris
NS

Brianna hails from Truro, Nova Scotia and has been a Special Olympics athlete for 9 years. In addition to snowshoeing, Brianna participates in swimming and athletics in her home region. Being named to Team Canada is one of Brianna’s greatest accomplishments so far. Special Olympics has helped change Brianna’s life by improving her self-confidence, allowing her to be less shy and learning about healthy eating and how to train better.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To be faster than I was in Corner Brook, NFL.”

Christine Peters
MB

Chrissy Peters hails from Morden, Manitoba and has been involved with Special Olympics programs for 10 years. Embarking on her second World Games experience, Chrissy hopes to follow-up the gold medal she received at the 2007 World Games in snowshoeing with another personal best race. Special Olympics has helped Chrissy become more confident in her everyday life. In her spare time, Chrissy loves to go on walks with her parent’s dogs, listening to music and playing on her computer.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Running and walking.”

Crystal Young
NL

Crystal Young, a resident of Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, has been involved with Special Olympics since 1999. In her career with Special Olympics, she’s been to 4 National Games, but this will be her first foray onto the world stage. Crystal credits Special Olympics with allowing her to improve in sports. She’s thrilled to be named to Team Canada as a snowshoe athlete and has said the accomplishment makes her feel “on top of the world.” When she’s not snowshoeing or training for World Games, Crystal can be found drawing, listening to music and making new friends.

Goal for Austria 2017: “I hope to win two gold medals.”

Daniel Martin
NS

Daniel Martin, hails from Pictou County, Nova Scotia and has been involved with Special Olympics for 6 years. Daniel is very proud to be named as a snowshoe athlete for Team Canada, as it’s the first time in 35 years an athlete from Pictou County has been named to Team Canada. Special Olympics has helped Daniel make new friends and stay in shape. In his free time, Daniel loves to play snooker, to run and to swim.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To be fast!”

Darren Boryskavich
MB

Darren hails from Russell, Manitoba and has been involved with Special Olympics for 32-years. A proud snowshoe athlete, Darren is excited and proud to represent Canada at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. Darren has won 38 medals in his career with Special Olympics, a huge accomplishment for him. He says Special Olympics has allowed him to meet a lot of great people and travel to different places all over the world.

Goal for Austria 2017: “I would like to win a gold medal in snowshoe.”

Floressa Harris
NL

Floressa is excited to be attending her first World Games. A resident of Gander, Newfoundland, being named to Team Canada as a snowshoe athlete makes her feel happy and she knows she will make her country proud. Her greatest accomplishments so far have been competing at National Games in 2016, 2014, 2012 and 2010. Special Olympics has helped change Floressa’s life by allowing her to be more outgoing, make more friends and help her keep in shape.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Have fun, workout hard and experience Austria.”

Jade Irvine
ON

Jade, a recent addition to the Special Olympics Movement, has been involved for the past 3-years. Special Olympics has allowed Jade to become more confident. Being named to Team Canada as a snowshoe athlete is a huge accomplishment for Jade. She’s a little nervous, but she firmly believes that if she trains hard, she thinks she will do a great job in Austria. When she’s not training or playing sports with Special Olympics, Jade can be found playing on her computer or helping to look after her 2 little brothers.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Have fun and do my best.”

Janet Charchuk
PEI

Janet Charchuck hails from Alberton, PEI and is a 20-year veteran of the Special Olympics Movement. In addition to snowshoeing, Janet participates in athletics, bocce, bowling and golf. Her greatest accomplishments so far have been the 2 gold medals and one bronze she won at the Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Special Olympics has changed Janet’s life, allowing her to feel part of something. She is excited for the World Games to meet new people and have new experiences. In her spare time, Janet loves to do yoga, cook, dance, sing and play sports.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To meet new people and make new friends. To do my personal best. To make myself and others proud.”

Jennifer Jackson
NB

Jennifer has been participating in Special Olympics programs for 31-years. Her first World Games experience was in 1987 and she’s thrilled to be on Team Canada once again. Special Olympics has allowed Jennifer to meet other athletes, making friends and stay fit and healthy. Jennifer says it is an honour to represent her home region of Wester Valley, New Brunswick and be part of Team Canada as a snowshoe athlete. When she’s not participating in Special Olympics programs, Jennifer can be found driving her car, painting, doing crossword puzzles or dancing.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Winning medals and having fun!”

Julien Cardinal Moffet
QC

Julien a Special Olympics athlete for 11-years, is excited to be attending his first World Games. He is thrilled to have new experiences and to meet new friends from all over the world. Special Olympics has helped Julien become more social and have more friends. Julien is excited to compete in snowshoeing in Austria.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Become the world champion in his sport.”

Justin Dodge
NL

Justin, from Grand Bank Newfoundland, is 34-years old and has been involved with Special Olympics for 11 years. Justin says one of his greatest accomplishments so far is being selected for Special Olympics Team Canada and being the first athlete from his local club to go to both a National and World Games. Special Olympics has helped Justin stay active, meet new friends and help him overcome his shyness. Being named to Team Canada as a snowshoe athlete means “everything” to Justin, and he’s very proud he did so well at Nationals to be named to Team Canada.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Making new friends, having fun and doing my best.”

Kelsey Mellan
ON

Kelsey is about to embark on her second World Games experience, having first attended the 2013 World Games in South Korea. She credits Special Olympics with meeting new friends and travelling to other places and countries. Being named as a snowshoe athlete to Team Canada makes Kelsey feel extremely proud, she hopes to make her hometown of Manitoulin Island proud of her. In her free time, she loves to swim and spend time with her dogs.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To try hard and have FUN!”

Kevin Dooks
ON

Kevin hails from Ottawa, Ontario and is very excited and proud to be attending his first World Games. Kevin says his greatest accomplishment so far is personal best in the 800m snowshoe race at the Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Special Olympics has helped Kevin become more physically fit, to become more confident and allowed him to travel to places he’s never been before. When he’s not participating in Special Olympics programs, Kevin loves to play on the computer, to read and watch sports.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Looking forward to working hard.”

Matthew Bedard
ON

Matthew is very excited to be named to the snowshoe roster for the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. Matthew says it gives him the opportunity to train hard and become a better athlete than before. He credits Special Olympics with allowing him to meet new people, become a better athlete, allowing him to travel to different places and become a healthier person. When he’s not playing sports, Matthew can be found wood working, running, training or cooking!

Goal for Austria 2017: “Bring it! Do your best and forget the rest. Have fun and becoming a better athlete.”

Matthew Cormier
ON

Matthew has been involved with Special Olympics for 18-years. In addition to snowshoeing, Matthew participates in athletics, basketball, bowling, softball and floor hockey. His greatest accomplishments so far are competing at the Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games and the 2015 softball championships. Special Olympics has helped Matthew become more social and allowed him to make new friends. He’s thrilled with being named to Team Canada as it gives him the chance to represent Canada in a sport he loves.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To have fun and enjoy the opportunity.”

Nancy Leduc

Nancy has been a Special Olympics Québec athlete for many years, from the south-west region. She practices several sports, and she is doing particularly well in snowshoeing. She takes her trainings very seriously and loves to set new challenges. Nancy is very excited and proud to be part of Team Canada, to represent her country at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games.

Goal for Austria 2017: to surpass herself!

Olivier Séguin
QC

Olivier has been involved with Special Olympics for 4 years. His greatest accomplishment so far is being named to Team Canada for the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. Olivier hails from St-Jean-Sur-Le-Richelieu, Quebec and credits Special Olympics with allowing him to be active and participate in sports. Olivier will be competing in snowshoeing in Austria.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To perform in Austria for the 2017 Games”

Peter Snider
ON

Peter Snider has been involved with Special Olympics for the past 6 years. In addition to snowshoe, Peter participates in athletics and basketball and competed in his first World Summer Games in LA where he won a gold medal and a bronze medal in long jump and the 200m, respectively. Peter says Special Olympics has helped change his life by allowing him to become friends with many different athletes across Canada and throughout the world. He notes, going to World Games inspired him to work hard at improving his strength and speed, it’s also a ton of fun!

Renée Pelletier
QC

Renée, a 15-year veteran of Special Olympics is extremely proud to be a part of Team Canada heading to Austria in 2017. Her greatest accomplishment so far has been her personal best performance in the 10km snowshoe race at the Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. When she’s not training or participating in other Special Olympics sports, she can be found riding her bike to and from work.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To return from games possibly with a medal.”

Ron Brandt
SK

Ron Brandt has been involved with Special Olympics for 30-years. Ron says his greatest accomplishments so far have been winning medals, specifically the gold he won in snowshoeing at the Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Special Olympics has helped change Ron’s life, making him proud and happy. When he’s not participating in Special Olympics programs, Ron listens to country music, goes to truck shows and loves to play with remote control cars.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Win gold!!”

Sandra Smith
NL

Sandra has been involved with Special Olympics for 17-years and is excited to be going to her first World Games. A snowshoe athlete, Sandra will work hard and try to do her best on the world stage. Sandra owns and operates Sandra’s Recycling Inc., where she collects recyclables from schools, homes and business and exchanges them at the Green Depot. She’s been running her business for the past 15-years. Special Olympics has helped Sandra lose weight, become more physically fit, lead a more active life and make new friends.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Make new friends and have fun!”

Sébastien Hamel-Bourdeau
QC

Sébastien will be embarking on his first World Games experience and he is very proud to be a part of Team Canada as a snowshoe athlete. He credits Special Olympics with allowing him to make new friends and to travel. His greatest accomplishments so far is winning two gold medals at the Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and winning a silver medal at the 2014 Special Olympics Quebec Summer Games. In his free time, Sébastien loves to run, train and challenge himself.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Becoming a world champion.”

Tony Wilkinson
BC

Tony, a 14-year veteran of Special Olympics is proud to be heading to Austria as a snowshoe athlete. He’s excited to get the experience of a lifetime being a member of Team Canada. Tony, an employee of Cineplex cinema in his hometown of Kelowna, credits Special Olympics with allowing him to meet new people, travel, improve his confidence and self- esteem and to eat healthier food. When he’s not working or taking part in snowshoe practice, Tony can be found listening to music, biking, swimming, playing games, reading and taking in a movie or two at the cinema.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Doing the best I can and hopefully winning medals.”

Valerie Delorme
MB

Involved with Special Olympics for 4 –years, Valerie says being named to Team Canada for snowshoeing is one of her greatest accomplishments so far. Special Olympics has helped Valerie make new friends and become a more social person. When she’s not playing sports with Special Olympics, Valerie loves to go to the gym, bowl and hang out with her friends.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Show people my best effort.”

Head Coach

Joanne Zahaiko
MB

Joanne has been involved with Special Olympics for the past 24 years, starting while in junior high school, she has made Special Olympics a part of her daily life.  Special Olympics has helped shape Joanne into the person that she is and has helped to guide her in her career as a Resource Teacher as well.  Having the opportunity to attend her 5th World Games is a very humbling experience.  Coaching both basketball and snowshoeing, Joanne spends most of the year with her athletes, on the court or on the snow.  Creating positive opportunities for her athletes is what keeps her motivated and coming back for more.  With this year's Team Canada snowshoe team, Joanne's goal is to make this the best snowshoe team Team Canada has ever seen!!

Goal for Austria 2017- To have every athlete medal at the Games and to come home with a personal best in BOTH of their events.  To ensure that every athlete and coach has a positive experience and will consider Nationals and Worlds again in the future!

Female Coaches

Maureen Hunter
BC

Maureen has been involved with Special Olympics since February 2004. Maureen’s husband, Harvey, played an important role in having Snowshoeing recognized at the word level. The family’s dedication to the sport and Special Olympics has been important to them for a very long time. She has been fortunate to have had the opportunity to coach on every level of competition that is offered by Special Olympics, this will be the 7th time she has been involved at the World level and the 4th time attending as a coach. Locally she holds the position of local coordinator and head snowshoe coach. She feels very strongly that offering training and competition to athletes of all abilities is the heart and soul of why Special Olympics is such a successful program. She is very excited to be a member of Special Olympics Team Canada 2017.

Goal for Austria 2017: To support and assist the athletes in becoming great ambassadors for the sport of snowshoeing and the Special Olympics National Team Program.

Rachel Mathews
ON

Rachel has been a volunteer with Special Olympics Ontario for 19 years coaching athletics, swimming, 5 pin bowling, soccer and snowshoeing as well as various administrative roles. She particularly enjoys helping athletes to realize their athletic abilities and the way that spills over and positively affects other parts of their lives. She was an Associate Snowshoe Coach in South Korea in 2013, the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria will be her second World Games experience. She is looking forward to being part of Team Canada once again and sharing special moments with the team on the world stage.

Goal for Austria 2017:

To help the athletes train mentally and physically to their full potential so that in Austria they will be able to do their personal best and have as great an experience as possible.

Sabrina Klassen
MB

Sabrina has been involved with Special Olympics for 12 years and has gone to three National games. This will be my first World Games and I’m excited to see all the athletes from world compete.

Goal for Austria 2017: To ensure athletes have a good experience and are ready for competition. Also to have fun.

Susan Brophy-Leblanc
NB

Susan joined as a volunteer with SONB five years ago. Although, she has many years’ experience as a volunteer in generic sports the Provincial and National Events that she attended over the last couple of years were a first time for her.  This will also be the 1st World Games that she will attend as an associate coach for Team Canada.  Bringing SO Athletes to the World Games is a dream come true. It is an opportunity to bring these hard working and well deserving athletes to the world stage to show the World what they can do and how much they have excelled in a sport that they obviously love.  It is with much pride and honour that she accompanies Team Canada to the World Games in Austria 2017.

Goal for Austria 2017:  Encourage and help our Athletes to be proud of their accomplishments. Assure them that being chosen to represent their Country at the World Games is a reward. Most important for me is to help and encourage the athletes with their training and preparation for the Games.

Male Coaches

David Wilkinson
BC

Dave has been involved with Special Olympics for 11 years. He is currently a coach in a number of programs; Bocce, Track, Golf and Snowshoeing. He has attended Provincial games for 5 pin bowling, Bocce and Snowshoeing and 1 National Games for Snowshoeing. He is very excited as this will be his first World Games experience. He is very grateful and proud to be representing Canada and looks forward to meeting athletes, coaches and new friends from around the world. He is also looking forward to being a part of Team Canada, inspiring athletes to do their best, and making sure this will be the experience of a lifetime. He has seen how much Special Olympics athletes grow as they go through the experience of being involved with Special Olympics, and know they will continue to gain and show confidence, pride, respect, sportsmanship and a sense of community as they compete on a global scale. As much as he sees the athletes benefit and grow through Special Olympics, he has found volunteering equally as rewarding.

Goals for Austria 2017:

- I want all our Athletes to have personal bests in all their events

- I want Team Canada to dominate in Snowshoeing

- I plan to encourage / inspire my Athletes and contribute to them having a successful games (did their best and had fun)

- I plan to gain experience on coaching - as a training coach and National coach with athletes at a distance

- I plan to meet contacts within my sport, within SOC and gain experience at a National level (so I can do this again in the future!!)

- I plan to make the most of this chance of a lifetime and soak up any experience or knowledge that I can so be a better coach and grow the sport (all the sports I am involved in) at the local level, so our programs grow and our athletes improve, so they can compete and participate and get the most out of Special Olympics.

- I hope to meet new friends within the athletes, coaches and mission staff

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