Manitoulin’s Team Canada athletes receive praise from local MPP

Kelsey and Matt pose for a picture together between races.

MANITOULIN—Among all the Islanders who are very proud of Manitoulin’s Team Canada Special Olympics snowshoers Kelsey Mellan and Matthew Bedard, and their efforts at the World Games, is Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha who acknowledged and praised the two athletes for their accomplishments in the Ontario parliamentary house this past Monday.

“Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour to stand and speak in the House on behalf of the good people of Algoma-Manitoulin. Today, I’d like to speak to the hard work of two remarkable athletes, Kelsey Mellan and Matthew Bedard, from my riding, that have each been competing this year at the Special Olympics Winter Games in Austria,” said Mr. Mantha.

“Both Matthew and Kelsey competed in snowshoe racing events at the Winter Games,” explained Mr. Mantha. “For Kelsey this was her second Winter Games experience. For Matthew this was his very first. I  understand that Matthew came in second in the 800 metre snowshoe finals, fourth in the 1,600 metre race and with the 4×4 100 metre team he was in second.”

“Kelsey also made us all proud coming in eighth in her 100 metre race and  had a fantastic time of 1:29.76 minutes in her 200 metre race,” continued Mr. Mantha.

“These fine athletes performed exceedingly well,” continued Mr. Mantha. “The people of Algoma-Manitoulin could not be more proud of their accomplishments as they represented Canada at the World Winter Games.”

“Speaker, today I’m really proud of our Canadian athletes,” said Mr. Mantha. “Canada sent 148 Special Olympics athletes to Austria…wow! And 35 of those athletes are from Ontario…what an incredible achievement and an honour for our Ontarian athletes. Mr. Speaker, on behalf of myself and the people of Algoma-Manitoulin…. Matthew and Kelsey, congratulations on your outstanding performance.”

“Kelsey had some challenging races,” said MSO coach Judy Olacke. “And in her 200 metre race she improved her time from her divisional time.” She competed in the 100 metre and 4×100 metre relay as well. “And the conditions were tough for both her and Matthew it was soggy, wet snow that they had to compete in.”

“Matthew had a silver in the 800 metre race and was fourth in the 1,600 metre race, and his relay team finished second,” said Ms. Olacke.

Ms. Olacke said it was plain to see by the photos that the two athletes had a lot of fun, meeting new friends. “They are great ambassadors for the Island, and for Canada,” she said.

Mr. Bedard said he was tired but happy after his two weeks away from home and planned on relaxing for  a week before he and fellow athlete Ms. Mellan get back into training for the upcoming track and field season.