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Athletes from across the country united in Prince Edward Island for the 2023 Canada Winter Games and what a great event it was! The games took place from February 18 to March 5th with 3,600 athletes, managers and coaches involved across 20 different sports, including figure skating.

With standing room only, the crowd’s reactions were loud and encouraging throughout the competition week. It was a sea of colour as teams could be clearly distinguished from one another as they sported their Provincial and Territorial attire. Meanwhile the spirit of the games was alive in the support that athletes showed, not only to their teammates but to all skaters.

The figure skating portion of the games consisted of pre-novice men, women, pair and ice dance. As competition unfolded over the course of the second week, we saw two records broken; Sandrine Blais from Quebec, silver medalist at the 2023 Skate Canada Challenge in Regina, set a record in pre-novice women and Julia Xiao and Keith Lau of Manitoba, also silver medalists in Regina, set a new record in pre-novice pair.

The 2023 Canada Games were also host to the Special Olympics, which saw two young participants qualify for the first time. Maddox Glover from Newfoundland and Labrador and Kayla Rose Cooper from Nova Scotia, both 13 years of age, won their respective events.

To see all the athletes stay to watch and support the Special Olympic athletes was truly heartwarming. Figure skating Special Olympians Maddox Glover and Mike Sumner had some truly memorable moments at the Games, as Glover was the flag bearer during the Closing Ceremonies and Sumner won the Pat Lechelt True Sport award. This award is presented to two athletes during the games who exemplify true sport principles both on and off the field of play. This was Sumner’s last Games and they ended on a high note:

“I am feeling the excitement right now. I think I performed my personal best and I am very happy about this opportunity to be here,” shared Sumner.

Over the course of this two-week event we had the opportunity to ask athletes, coaches and managers what their experience of the Games was like. Here are a few highlights from the responses we collected:

“It was amazing in all aspects, and I learnt a lot from it. I developed long-lasting friends.”

Julia Xiao – Pre-Novice Pair Champion from MB

“My Canada Winter Games experience was fun, and the environment helped so that I wasn’t stressed for competition. It was a great experience that I will never forget!”

Keith Lau – Pre-Novice Pair Champion from MB

‘Our experience at the Canada Winter Games was phenomenal. Even with a stressful start, we felt support from Skate Canada, volunteers, and a heartfelt message from Keegan Messing. What a treat to be at an event where the calibre of skating was so impressive, and the crowd was beyond enthusiastic. This was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our athletes and leadership team alike.’

Lisa Bonderove – Team AB Manager

The spirit of the Games was phenomenal for everyone involved from athletes to officials to audience members. There was great competition, wonderful camaraderie, and support for all athletes across all disciplines. In the words of many of the participants in PEI, the 2023 Canada Winter Games is an “experience they will never forget.”

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