Heather Nedohin admits Red Deer always will have a special, warm spot in her heart. Winning a World Junior curling title here along with a Scotties crown added a little more heat to that temperature but she returned the favour last month sharing her thoughts and offering her encouragement to a select group of athletes.
She was speaking at the Special Olympics breakfast last month and made a point of how impressed she was with the accomplishments and the efforts of the special Olympians.
“I just love seeing the joy in their participation and in their training,” she said. “ So to come here to speak to them is just like coming home.”
She was joined on the breakfast date by her husband David who is no slouch when it comes to winning at the game of curling, notching four briers and three world championships as a member of the Randy Ferbey foursome.
He said he was very excited to come to Red Deer for the chance to address the group having been involved with special Olympic events in St. Albert.
From a personal perspective it’s extremely motivating to see the excitement and the enthusiasm and the hard work that goes into their sports, he said, adding most of them are also dual sports athletes. “So it’s not like us where we just compete at one sport. They’ve got to work on more than one sport at one time.”
Both of these champions touched on the fact while there was success during their careers there were also obstacles and failures, similar to what these young athletes have already experienced.
Heather went through a stretch of 14 years in between two championships and there were plenty of times where she questioned why she was training,
“But when you are really, truly passionate about what you’re doing and regardless if you place second or third or maybe not even make the podium, it’s about enjoying the game,” said Heather.
David added to that sentiment, recalling many times where the foursome was a shot away from winning a game, only to lose.
“You could lose for years but to have that one chance to win and to feel that excitement and that encouragement and just the opportunity for that is what makes it worthwhile.”
Both David and Heather have the same opinion about their curling brethren when it comes to being available for such great causes like the Special Olympics.
“If there is a way that we can help and be a part of our community, you’ll see the curlers there. It doesn’t take a lot of convincing to get our community of athletes out to support an event like that,” said David.