ANTIGONISH, N.S. – It was a week to remember for Team P.E.I. at the Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games.
The 35 athletes, 12 coaches and seven mission staff members representing Canada’s smallest province returned home from Antigonish, N.S., on Sunday with 20-plus medals, numerous personal-best achievements and many lifetime memories.
“Overall, I couldn’t be any prouder to be part of this team,” said P.E.I. chef de mission Matthew McNally of Mount Stewart in a phone interview with the Journal Pioneer late Saturday afternoon. “We have a set of leaders who are at their best, not just in sports, but they are amazing individuals from athletes, coaches and mission staff.
“No matter if it was a real successful moment, or a real challenging moment, they represented P.E.I. really well, professionally and with a lot of pride. We fought hard and I really felt everyone took the athletes’ oath of, ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win let me be brave in the attempt,’ to heart, and were brave wherever they were competing.”
The National Summer Games will determine Team Canada for the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi in March.
“There will be a selection committee formed starting Monday,” explained McNally. “That is put together by Special Olympics Canada. They will review all the results of the Games (in Antigonish).
“Based on the Special Olympics Canada selection policies that are in place, they will then contact chapters with the athletes who have potential to move onto a World Games. It’s usually a month-long process, but because the World Games are in Abu Dhabi in March, things are really tight for registration and getting documentation in order. We could see this pull together in a much shorter time frame.”
The National Summer Games concluded with the closing ceremony and the very popular victory dance at St. Francis Xavier University on Saturday night.
“It’s a really exciting party and celebration of what happened this week,” said McNally.