Special Olympians receive top awards at gala event

ISLAND ATHLETES CELEBRATED––Members of the Manitoulin Special Olympics (MSO) were recognized at the Ontario Special Olympics annual awards gala and annual general meeting last week in Markham with Mindemoya’s Dayne Tipper receiving the Male Athlete of the Year accolade and the MSO curling team winning Team of the Year for Ontario Special Olympics. From left are, Dayne Tipper, Male Athlete of the Year, curling coach Nancy Leeson, curling team members Regan Millsap, Andrew Splawnyk, Rebecca Strain, Randy Corbiere and Jeffrey Panamick-Sweeney and curling coach Ellen Holroyd.

MANITOULIN—Manitoulin Special Olympics (MSO) was well represented at the Ontario Special Olympics annual awards gala and annual general meeting last week in Markham with Mindemoya’s Dayne Tipper receiving the Male Athlete of the Year accolade and the MSO curling team winning Team of the Year for Ontario Special Olympics. The curling team, Manitoulin Rockin’ Sweepers, is comprised of athletes Regan Millsap, Rebecca Strain, Randy Corbiere, Andrew Splawnyk, and Jeffrey Panamick-Sweeney along with coaches Nancy Leeson and Ellen Holroyd.

Dayne is no stranger to the podium having brought home two bronze medals in snowshoeing at the Canada Special Olympic Winter Games held last winter and winning a team silver medal at the floor hockey championships in London, Ontario. Over the summer, the Male Athlete of the Year also participated in the Northeastern Ontario track and field championships in Sturgeon Falls where he took gold in both the 1,500 and 800 metre races, silver in standing long jump and third in shot put. Coach Janet Anning commends Dayne for his commitment to training and sport.

The curling team wowed the circuit, going from new kids on the block to winning gold at the provincials then silver at the nationals held in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

Both Dayne and the curling team were called up to the stage and honoured during the award ceremony, and true to Manitoulin style, the cheers for those athletes was loud and strong.

Catherine Tipper, Dayne’s proud mother, told The Expositor that Manitoulin represented well at the awards gala, taking up three tables that saw each person “cheer and whoop it up,” when the awards were received.

“Manitoulin always sticks out, no matter where we go—if it’s regional or the worlds—you see and hear us,” she laughed.

As the athletes were called onstage to collect their prestigious awards, the master of ceremonies for the event read aloud from their nomination letters, which were often moving tales from local coaches about their dedication and commitment to all that they do.