BIG WIN – Elliott Moskowy celebrates after one of his wins during the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Local athletes win big at Special Olympics Summer Games

  • Aug. 5, 2015 2:58 p.m.

Two Red Deer athletes had the opportunity of a lifetime as they ventured to the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games held in Los Angeles over the span of seven days from July 25th to Aug. 2nd.

Elliott Moskowy, 22, and Carlos Villafuerte, 20, were two of 13 members of Team Canada from Alberta, with 164 athletes representing the country in total.

The 2015 World Games hosted 7,000 athletes from 177 countries and happens only once every four years.

The two Red Deer athletes had a long four years of competing prior to the events in order to gain a spot on Team Canada, but the fortunate pair not only secured their spots in L.A., they both returned home with a number of medals.

“Both of the athletes did outstanding,” said Special Olympics Team Canada Chef de Mission, Johnny Byrne.

Villafuerte, who was competing in 10-pin bowling earned two silver medals in bowling doubles and bowling team as well as a seventh place finish in bowling singles.

“Carlos really kicked the week off for us with all of our bowling teams medaling and he really bowled outstanding,” he said.

“They track the amount of family and friends present registered to each athlete and Carlos had 22 family members present who came from both Red Deer and South America where his family is from to watch him – so his support network was huge.”

Byrne said a highlight for Villafuerte was meeting the Peru National team in which he had the chance to tell them about his home town and speak some of his language of origin with them.

Moskowy found his stride in the pool and brought home three gold medals in 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle, and 4×100 medley relay as well as silver in the 100m IM.

“Elliott’s week in the pool was beyond words,” said Byrne on the local athlete’s performance. “His strength in the water was exceptional and he was only a hundredth of a second away from having that fourth gold medal.

“He was definitely Team Canada’s top performer in the pool – it was quite a performance that’s for sure.”

Moskowy competed against a wide range of international athletes in order to earn his gold with swimming events seeing the largest span of over 100 countries competing.

In order to qualify for the games, both Moskowy and Villafuerte needed to attend the Alberta Special Olympics Summer Games held in 2013 in Red Deer. This gained the pair a spot on Team Alberta, which then sent them to Vancouver last summer to compete in the Canada Summer Games.

Following outstanding performances in Vancouver the two were then granted spots on Team Canada and the chance to compete in L.A.

A highlight for Team Canada during the open ceremonies in L.A. was a surprise visit from Canadian pop icon Justin Bieber, who joined the team for their walk into the games and began a chant of ‘Go Canada! Go!’ to which Byrne said went miles towards making it an unforgettable experience for the 164 athletes around him.

“Bieber gave us a surprise visit and marched alongside the athletes from Team Canada,” said Byrne. “He spent as much time with athletes as he could and for a lot of our athletes it was one of the memories they’re going to hang onto for a long time.”

Moskowy and Villafuerte will now be enjoying a well earned month’s rest before returning to the Red Deer Special Olympics programs and both plan to continue with competing later this year.

“The opportunity to represent Canada was huge for all of our athletes and L.A. definitely made a lasting mark on us as a team,” said Byrne. “We’ve been building this team over the last year when those athletes were selected and we couldn’t have asked for a better group of ambassadors.”

jswan@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Oh What a Night! celebrates iconic American legends

Frankie Valli and Andy Williams honoured during Red Deer show

WATCH: Hundreds come out to annual Red Deer Lights the Night

Celebration featured lighting of City Hall Park and Red Deer’s Christmas Tree

Santa Claus comes to Bower Place

Dozens line up Saturday to have photo taken with Jolly Old Saint Nick

Bruce Buruma enters the UCP nomination race for Red Deer South

Vote for candidate takes place early in the New Year

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

CUPW requests mediator as deadline for Canada Post offer expires without deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Saturday night with a last-minute plea to the two sides

Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public on future of LGBTQ rights in USMCA

Legislators urged Trump not to sign the agreement unless the language was removed.

Grande Prairie RCMP charge 19 men, ranging in age from 23 to 69, in prostitution sting

Three-day operation targets sex activities in the downtown area

Most Read