'I feel very proud': Local athletes strike gold at Special Olympics World Games
With nearly 90 Canadian athletes competing in the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, Germany, a pair of locals are doing their part in defending Canada’s Olympic pride.
Kitchener’s Marley Gaylor and Guelph’s Marc Richardson both reached the podium this week.
“It’s been amazing,” Gaylor, a Special Olympic powerlifter, told CTV News. “Meeting people from around the world who do the same sport I do.”
Gaylor claimed three gold medals in bench press, deadlift and the overall event, as well as silver in back squat. Her heaviest lift being a 130 kg deadlift.
“I did let it soak in and my parents were there watching and they were super proud of me and it was very overwhelming and exciting,” Gaylor said.
Richardson captured gold in men’s doubles bowling, along with a fourth place finish in the team bowling event.
“I was excited, I was crying, I didn’t know what emotions to use,” Richardson told CTV News. “We just played our game and in the end we came out on top.”
Richardson was accompanied by friends and family while competing. His brother Matt made the trip to Berlin before returning home earlier this week.
“To see the performance [Marc] put on and their gold medal for [doubles event] was just spectacular,” Richardson said. “It really pulled everyone in our sphere together to kind of root behind him.
Special Olympics community coordinator for Guelph-Wellington, Lori Savage, coached Marc during the months leading up to the games. She said seeing 7,000 athletes from more than 170 countries competing at the games was a powerful experience.
“To see that many people all trying to achieve the same goal from every different country around, it’s really heartwarming to see it all happen,” Savage said.
Richardson will aim for another podium finish when he competes in 10 pin bowling singles on Saturday.
“Thank you for supporting me and being there supporting Team Canada,” Richardson said.
Gaylor’s journey has come to an end at this year’s Games. The Kitchener native returns from her first World Games with four medals in total.
“I feel very proud that I got chosen to be here,” Gaylor said. “I did dream of coming to the World Games and I didn’t know if it would happen.”
The Special Olympics World Games conclude on Saturday.