Seven Red Deer athletes will represent the province after Special Olympics Alberta recently announced their teams for the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Bowling Championships and the 2018 Special Olympic Summer Games.
Included in those athletes is 33-year-old five-pin bowler Lindsey Day.
“I was so excited, I was flying when I first found out,” Day said. “My coach decided who was going to provincials. I was one of the lucky ones that did and then my team did well enough that we came home with gold.”
The gold medal would streamline her journey to both the bowling championships on Prince Edward Island from May 15th-19th and the Summer Games in Antigonish, Nova Scotia from July 31st – Aug. 4th.
Day has been involved with Special Olympics since 1997 and the Games have allowed to her to compete and feel welcome.
“When I was little, I couldn’t do a whole lot due to balance,” she said. “My family figured out that I could go bowling. We did that as a family and then I joined Special Olympic in Camrose when I was in Grade 7.”
Since moving from Camrose, Day’s bowling game has expanded and improved.
“I have wanted to go further with it and now I am,” she said. “In Camrose I wasn’t the greatest bowler, but since I moved to Red Deer, I have been bowling a lot better.”
Day has been preparing with her team and coach and hopes to find success at the Games.
“We practice weekly on Thursdays and we play two games,” she said. “I concentrate on hitting the pins and every time I get a strike or spare I get super excited.”
The Special Olympics have been a life changing experience for Day.
“For me, it made my life a whole lot easier because I didn’t have to feel left out of things,” she said. “Growing up was challenging and I wasn’t physically able to go skating or skiing because of balance. When I found out about Special Olympics, I signed up immediately.”
The next Summer Games in Antigonish marks 50 years of Alberta Special Olympics and features 135 Albertan athletes – 52 females and 83 males – competing in 11 sports. Overall, there are 26 communities represented.
“Team Alberta is built on the foundation of hard work, dedication and respect. Every member earned their position on this team through this solid foundation. With a short turn around before both major competitions, we are focused on providing the best possible training and support to all our members,” Jill Moore, Team Alberta Chef de Mission, said.
The athletes will be joined by 50 mission staff, coaches and caddies including five individuals from Red Deer.
“With athletes from 26 different communities across our province, I’m sure all communities will embrace and support our Team Alberta members,” Moore said. “From the start, our Team Alberta members started off united and eager to show our full potential, our coaches and mission staff even came together to choose our Team Alberta identity. We all know we’re in this together, to compete the best we can and enjoy the experience.”
Red Deer five-pin bowlers Brendan Schewalje, June Rolfson, Chris Maloney and Kristi Gilmet will join Day on the team; Toryn Holden will represent Alberta on the golf team; and Elliot Moskowy will represent Alberta for swimming.
Team Alberta is supported by donations through the Draft an Athlete program and personal fundraising of athletes through Personal Best. For more information about supporting Team Alberta 2018, go to www.specialolympics.ca/alberta.