Northwest Territories athletes have returned from the Canada 55+ Games in Kamloops with 21 medals, six of them gold.
Thousands of Canadians aged over 55 compete in more than two-dozen events every two years. Swimmers Chris Williams, already a multiple medallist at this level, led the way in Kamloops with gold in the 50m breaststroke and 50m butterfly.
Inuvik’s Gloria Allen took two gold medals in darts, Team NT said in a Facebook post summarizing the medal tally. The five-pin bowling team of Robert Winter, Pat Winter, Bev Black, John Soderberg and Karan Spoelder was also victorious.
Richard Daitch won gold in the 100m predicted swim, where the aim is to swim as close to a predicted time as possible. He also won silver in the 200m event. Joining Daitch and Williams as swimming medallists were Mary Pat Short (one silver, one bronze) and Paul Taylor (one silver, two bronze).
“We were quite surprised that only the four of us could come home with that many medals,” said Daitch of the swim team’s nine-medal haul.
“Chris is just an inspiration for all of us,” he added of Williams’ two victories.
In a particularly strong showing for Fort Smith, joining swimmers Daitch, Short and Taylor on the medal rostrum were pickleball players Edna Woodward and Millie Steed, who picked up silver, and cyclist Barbara Clarke, who won both time trial and road race silver. Jim Lynn won cycling time trial silver and placed second in his road race category.
Leslie Goit took silver in eight-ball pool while Wayne Guy won bronze in the 100m and 200m dash events.
In tennis, Yellowknife resident Bernie Bennett described winning bronze in the age 60-64 category with longtime doubles partner Jim Umpherson.
“The Games were cancelled in 2020 due to Covid so Jim and I set our sights on Kamloops, with our goal being to finish on the podium,” Bennett wrote.
“We only had one practice match during the summer because I suffered two serious injuries to my leg and wrist, which meant up until one week before the start of the Games my participation was in doubt.”
Bennett and Umpherson’s 6-1 6-4 victory over British Columbia ended up securing the NWT bronze in the event.
In what proved the final game of the BC match, Bennett said, “Jim made an absolutely spectacular volley that was probably the shot of his life, especially given the importance of that point in the match.”
While not every athlete picked up a medal, the men’s hockey team notably scored a victory at the Canada 55+ Games for the first time in the event’s history.
Correction: September 4, 2022 – 23:18 MT. We initially reported that cyclist Jim Lynn won road race gold and time trial silver, based on a list of results issued by Team NT. He in fact placed second in the road race.