Special Olympians win provincial awards

Team of the Year! The Manitoulin Special Olympics curling team has been named as ‘Team of the Year’ by Ontario Special Olympics. The team includes coach Ellen Holroyd, Randy Corbiere, Jeff Panamick, Andrew Splawanyk, Rebecca Strain, Regan Millsap and coach Nancy Leeson.

MANITOULIN—One Manitoulin Special Olympics (MSO) snowshoeing athlete and the curling team have both won provincial awards from Ontario Special Olympics (OSO).

“Dayne Tipper has been named as Male Athlete of the Year for Ontario and our curling team has been named as Team of the Year for Ontario,” stated Janet Anning, coordinator of MSO, this past weekend. The MSO curling team, ‘Manitoulin Rockin Sweepers,’ includes athletes Regan Millsap, Rebecca Strain, Randy Corbiere, Andrew Splawnyk and Jeffrey Panamick-Sweeney along with coaches Nancy Leeson and Ellen Holroyd.

“We are very excited to get this news,” stated Ms. Anning. She explained, “at the Canada Special Olympic Winter Games held earlier this year, Dayne garnered two bronze medals in snowshoeing. He played floor hockey in London, Ontario and his team won a silver medal. As well, he competed at the Northeast region track and field championships in Sturgeon Falls a week ago where he finished first in both the 1,500-and 800-metre runs, was second in the standing long jump and third in the shot put. He has trained very hard and committed to all the sports he takes part in.”

“The curling team has shown its dedication and commitment, trained and worked very hard as a team,” Ms. Anning said of the MSO curling team. “They went from being a very new team to winning gold at the provincial games and then silver at the National Games.”

“With both the curling team and Dayne, it just shows what can happen when you work hard have great coaches and are very committed,” said Ms. Anning.

Athlete of the Year! Dayne Tipper of  the Manitoulin  Special Olympics snowshoeing team has been selected as the Athlete of the Year by Ontario Special Olympics.
Athlete of the Year! Dayne Tipper of
the Manitoulin
Special Olympics snowshoeing team has been selected as the Athlete of the Year by Ontario Special Olympics.

At the National Games in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland earlier this year, the MSO curling team won a silver medal. “To be second overall in the country is an amazing accomplishment,” Ms. Anning  told the Recorder after the games.

Ellen Holroyd, along with Nancy Leeson, coached the MSO curlers. “We had an awesome week and it was a great experience for everyone,” said Ms. Holroyd. “This was my first time at the nationals and our athletes were great representatives for Manitoulin Island and for curling and snowshoeing.” She noted, “the team we were beaten by in the finals from Saskatchewan have been to the finals three times; they are very experienced and were well deserving.”

In their division, MSO curlers lost their opening game then reeled off three straight wins to get to the finals.

“Our team is second best in all of Canada, and the only rink with a female skip and vice,” said Ms. Holroyd. “Of all the other rinks competing there were maybe a total of eight girls on all the teams and the team that beat us in the finals was made up of five males.”

Despite having the flu at the National Games, Mr. Tipper won two bronze medals, in the 800- and 1,600-metre snowshoeing races.

“They (snowshoers) did excellent, just awesome,” said MSO snowshoe coach Judy Olacke. “It was really exciting even in the super challenging weather they faced, with one day of events having to be cancelled because of high winds and lots of snow. But our athletes toughed it out, especially Dayne who was ill when he took part in the finals.”

Mr. Tipper and the MSO curling team will be honoured by OSO in October in Toronto.