Senior athletes from Cochrane and area brought home plenty of hardware from the 2022 Canada 55+ Games, which took place during the last week of August.
Sunshine and 30-to-36-degree Celsius weather greeted the approximately 2,700 competitors from across Canada aged 55 to 102, who arrived ready to compete in the city of Kamloops, B.C.
The Canada 55+ games are held once every two years, but due to pandemic-related reasons, were placed on hold in 2020. They returned this year.
A team of 54 competitors from the “Big Country” Senior Sports Society Area Seven of Alberta – which includes Cochrane and surrounding communities – competed in 36 events ranging from track and field, cycling, bowling, lawn bowling, ice hockey, curling, card games, pool and swimming. The Big Country team showed their might by coming back with around 65 medals.
Big Country Senior Sports Society Area Seven board director and competitor Doug Campbell said the local athletes did very well in their ventures.
“I’m really proud of everybody. Our whole purpose is to get seniors off the couch and get them involved physically, mentally and socially,” Campbell said.
From Springbank, Brian Hill took home two gold medals in the 75+ men’s triple jump and javelin toss competitions, as well as a silver medal in the 75+ long jump competition.
In 55+ men’s ice curling, Gary Hawkes, Bob Jennings, Herb Smith, and Rick Makowichuk from Cochrane secured the bronze medal.
Cochrane locals Nancy and Karl Gibbie won two bronze medals in 70+ mixed lawn bowling. Karl landed another bronze medal with Campbell in the 70+ men’s competition.
The Calgary Bandits, whose roster included Lynda Cooke and Nancy Chudleigh from Cochrane, Lynda Gross from Bearspaw, and Sue Christison from Chestermere won silver in the 55+ women's hockey event. Meanwhile, the 60+ Calgary Outlaws, with Dawn Baker from Cochrane and MaryLou O’Byrne from Springbank, placed fourth.
In the pool competition, Bill Gibbons from Cochrane finished fourth. In bowling, the Cochrane Five (Myrna Fink, Wendy Davis, Sharon Barnden and Laurie and Monique MacKenzie) placed fourth. In 55+ mixed lawn bowling, Norma Dawson and Doug Campbell placed fourth.
With peers competing against each other, a highlight for Campbell of the trip to Kamloops was seeing people active and having a good time.
For newcomers to the 55+ Games, Campbell outlined that participation takes precedent over anything else.
“We just encourage people to take a lot of different sports and some days you have good games and sometimes not so good, but that’s aside from the point. The point is to participate,” he said.
Campbell thanked the City of Kamloops for being a terrific host with an amazing group of volunteers to make the event enjoyable for everyone.