Island snowshoers Kelsey Mellan and Matt Bedard off to a great start at world games this week

Matt Bedard competing in the 800 metre snowshoe race at the Special Olympic Worlds. Matt finished second place in the race and will be bringing home silver.

AUSTRIA—Manitoulin Special Olympians (SO) Kelsey Mellan and Matt Bedard are proudly representing Canada in snowshoeing at the SO World Winter Games in Austria this week and are off to a great start.

As of press time Monday, Matt had placed second in the 800 metre finals, while Kelsey placed 8th in her 100 metre race.

“Matthew Bedard just won the silver medal in 800m snowshoe race,” said proud mom Kathy Bedard. “We are very proud of him. Kelsey posted 8th in her 100 metre race. Manitoulin should be so proud of these athletes.”

Matthew Bedard won the silver medal in 800m snowshoe race

“The weather has been warmer than usual, with lots of rain,” added Ms. Bedard of the conditions in Austria. “Matt and Kelsey still have pulled off some amazing times even though the turf was like wet sand.”

Kelsey was scheduled to compete in the 200 metre race yesterday (Tuesday, March 21), while Matt will take part in the 1,600 metre race this Friday, March 24.

Both Kelsey and Matt are joined by their family who are attending the games for the week to cheer them on along with their fellow Team Canada athletes.

Kelsey Mellan

As The Expositor has previously reported, Kelsey has been snowshoeing for 10 years, attending the World Winter Games in South Korea in 2013 where show won a silver medal and achieved a personal best in her races.

Matt also has a storied history of competing at both the summer and winter games, competing at the SO Summer Games in Vancouver in 2014 where he earned gold medals in high jump and the 4×400 relay and a bronze in the 1,600 metre race. In 2016, he competed in the Winter Nationals in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland and won gold in the 400, 800 and 1,600 metre snowshoe races.

Kelsey and Matt pose for a picture together between races.

The SO World Winter Games 2017 started last week on Tuesday, March 14  and run until March 25 in the Austrian communities of Graz, Schladming-Rohrmoos and Ramsau. There are 2,700 athletes from 107 nations competing, joined by 1,100 trainers, 3,00 volunteers, 5,000 family members/friends, 800 congress participants, 800 media representatives and 1,200 honoured guests.