Oak Bay skaters bound for B.C. Games in Kamloops

Saanich resident aims for second gold

Oak Bay Figure Skating Club member Emily Walzak of View Royal hopes to reclaim gold this week in Kamloops, but it’s not her top priority.

The BC Winter Games are in Kamloops from Feb. 22 to 25 and feature Special Olympics BC athletes and 20 coaches for the chance to showcase their skills in front of their peers from generic sports.

Oak Bay resident Tess van Straaten serves as head coach for the Island’s Special Olympics figure skating team, while Oak Bay Figure Skating Club members Walzak and Desiree Grubell of Saanich will compete.

Walzak won a gold in the 2016 Games.

“It was fun to just be there with the team, the whole atmosphere was exciting,” she said. “It’s fun to meet new teammates and old teammates you haven’t seen in a long time.”

Walkzak, a figure skater for six years now with the Special Olympics team looks forward to sharing her routine with cohorts and spectators during the BC Winter Games Feb. 22-25.

“I love just getting to dress up and express myself through music. It’s really fun to get to travel around the city and province too,” she says.

The Games features 1,229 athletes from every corner of the province competing in 19 sports. The athletes are an average of 14 years old and for most, this will be their first experience at a multi-sport Games. Special Olympians will compete in basketball and figure skating and athletes with a disability will compete in cross country skiing and wheelchair basketball.

While Walzak is a seasoned traveller, for some, the Games are the first opportunity to travel with teammates and enjoy some independence in a safe atmosphere, says longtime coach van Straaten.

“Also, that team spirit. If you go to any major sporting event like Olympics or the Commonwealth Games there’s just that energy and all of the athletes cheer each other on,” she says. “Really they’re competing against themselves, so it’s not competitive against each other. They want to do their personal best, have their best skate, and have a great Games experience.”



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Two Oak Bay officers recognized at 10th anniversary of anti-impaired driving program

Alexa’s Team has grown from 26 members in 2008 to the current 2,400

UPDATE: Recycling truck destroyed by fire in Victoria

Emterra truck sitting on McLure Street in residential neighbourhood, driver safe

Victoria Shamrocks acquire NLL and MSL all-star

Rob Hellyer brings offensive power to the Shamrocks

VicPD cuts school liaison program over budget impasse with Esquimalt

Six officers, including three school liaisons, to be reassigned to frontline duties

Vancouver Island is home to some of the ‘rattiest’ cities in B.C.

Three municipalities in Greater Victoria, and three more around the Island have gnawed their way into the top 20

VIDEO: B.C. man recognized for spinning basketball on toothbrush

Abbotsford man holds world record for longest duration of time of 60.5 seconds

Police searching for escaped prisoner in B.C.

Ralph Whitfield Morris, 83, is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder

B.C. set to introduce pot laws, but years of fine tuning likely: minister

Legislation regulating recreational marijuana is expected to be introduced Thursday

Sights of Saanich bring smiles to Japanese delegation

A small leap highlighted the short but potentially historic visit of a… Continue reading

Arrests made after truck crashes into unmarked police cars in Nanaimo

Two men facing numerous charges after allegedly fleeing scene on the mid-island

Canadian driver uses lawn chair as driver’s seat, gets caught

Ontario police detachment caught the male driver during a traffic stop

B.C. moves to restrict pill presses in opioid battle

Minister Mike Farnworth says federal law doesn’t go far enough

VIDEO: Vets, volunteers set up vaccination station for sick bunnies

Volunteers, vets try to stop spread of lethal virus

Most Read