Following on the heels of the successful Nanaimo 2014 BC Summer Games, where 2,414 athletes had their first multisport experience, there is a new focus this week on the 2014 Commonwealth Games set to take place in Glasgow, July 23 to August 3.
The BC Games are a stepping stone for athletes to progress to higher levels of competition including the Commonwealth Games. Team Canada at the 2014 Commonwealth Games includes 31 BC Games alumni taking part in 10 sports.
There are 82 athletes from BC on the team so those with a BC Games experience make up 37 per cent of the BC athletes.
Three of Team Canada’s athletes have a strong connection to Nanaimo and the last time the BC Summer Games were held there in 2002.
Triathlon made its debut as a sport at the 2002 BC Summer Games. Kirsten Sweetland of Victoria was just 13 years old when she competed at those Games and came home with a gold medal.
She has said that, “The BC Games were my first major goal and after accomplishing that goal, I kept setting higher and higher goals for myself.”
After narrowly missing the 2008 Olympic team, she has battle a series of injuries but, is now recovered and set to be part of her first major multisport Games.
Riley McCormick of Victoria was one of the youngest athletes at the 2002 BC Summer Games in Nanaimo.
At just 10 years old, he won a bronze and silver medal at Games and has gone on to a successful career including two Olympic Games.
On the girls side of the diving competition in 2002, North Vancouver’s Emma Friesen won gold and silver.
Friesen and McCormick are now representing Canada in Diving at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Kelly Mann, President and CEO of the BC Games Society remembers, “At the Closing Ceremony of the 2002 BC Summer Games, Nanaimo Games president Dave Bakes said to the athletes, ‘Go out and make Nanaimo proud.’
These three athletes and our other 28 alumni have certainly made Nanaimo, the BC Games Society and British Columbia proud and we will be cheering for them as they compete in Glasgow.”
Twenty-two BC athletes have also competed for Team BC at the Canada Games or Western Canada Summer Games and 16 of those have been part of both the BC Games and Team BC.