Maple Ridge will be sending three athletes to the upcoming 2023 Special Olympics BC Winter Games in Kamloops.
While Dan Catarig, who represents Mission but now lives in Maple Ridge, will be competing in floor hockey, the city will also have two other Special Olympics athletes trying their best to bring home medals in alpine skiing.
Matthew Bueschkens previously qualified for the 2015 Winter Games, where he secured a second-place finish in the Intermediate Slalom event.
Katherine St. Amand is representing Maple Ridge at the provincial Winter Games for the first time since moving from Calgary, but is no stranger to competing on a stage this big, having earned a silver medal in alpine skiing at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria.
All three of these athletes are now on their way to Kamloops, where the BC Winter Games will start tomorrow.
And even though all of them are excited to be representing their city at the provincials, St. Amand has an additional reason to look forward to this weekend.
“It’s actually my birthday weekend too,” said St. Amand. “I get to go to provincials and have my birthday this weekend.”
As she’s about to turn 30, St. Amand is hoping for a gold medal finish at the winter games, which she said would be one of the best gifts she could ask for.
To help her reach this goal, she’s been working hard both on and off the ski hill, including a lot of workout routines in her own home gym in her basement.
Susan St. Amand, Katherine’s mother, said that they’re really looking forward to the Games and the unique atmosphere that it brings.
“The energy is unbelievable,” said Susan. “With all the camaraderie, it’s very special to see.”
The 2023 Special Olympics BC Winter Games will take place from Feb. 2-4, with the winners of the events qualifying for the 2024 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games that will take place in Calgary.
Anyone interested in volunteering with Special Olympics BC in the Lower Mainland area is asked to reach out to Chelsea Tambellini at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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