Canadian Youth Olympic Games participants benefit from training at Whistler Sport Legacies’ venues

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Whistler, BC: From February 12-21, 2016, the second edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games will draw over 1,000 athletes between 14 and 18 years from 71 countries to compete for the medals in 15 sports in Lillehammer, Norway.

Team Canada will be represented by 54 athletes from all over the country. Whistler plays an important role for these athletes, as many have been training, either primarily or through training camps, at the Whistler legacy venues of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. A group of about 16 athletes, representing seven different sports, is of special importance for Whistler Sport Legacies. These athletes have trained at the not-for-profit organization’s venues Whistler Olympic Park or the Whistler Sliding Centre, or they have used the accommodation and training hub Whistler Athletes’ Centre in the time leading up to their Games nomination.

For Nordic sports, Vancouver’s Annika Richardson will be the only female representing Canada in cross-country skiing. She spent considerable time on Whistler Olympic Park’s trails through Hollyburn Cross-Country Ski Club’s regular training sessions and camps. Biathlete Tekarra Banser of Kelowna benefited from numerous training sessions with Whistler Olympic Park’s biathlon head coach.  

In the three sliding disciplines, almost half of the athletes representing Canada were ‘born and raised’ on Whistler’s track. Canada’s only athlete in bobsleigh, Parker Reid of West Vancouver, had originally started off in BC Luge’s youth program at the Whistler Sliding Centre, but switched disciplines after a few seasons. Likewise, the nomination list for luge reads like a true Whistler flagship: All three male athletes representing Canada learned to luge on the town’s ice track. Last winter season, Matthew Riddle (Vancouver), Adam Shippit (Pemberton) and Reid Watts (Whistler) had already won the overall Youth World Cup titles of their categories. Canada’s only female luger in Lillehammer, Brooke Apshkrum (Calgary), has done numerous training runs on Whistler’s track to refine her skills – both in summer and in winter. The Whistler Sliding Centre is also home to non-Canadian Youth Olympic Games athletes: Veronica Ravenna, a Whistler local starting for Argentina, will compete in luge, just as Lucas Gebauer-Barrett who will represent Great Britain.

Whistler Sport Legacies’ third legacy venue, the Whistler Athletes’ Centre, plays a big role as a hub for training camps for all sport disciplines. Several Team Canada athletes representing alpine and freestyle skiing, snowboard and biathlon at the Youth Olympic Games have used the accommodation and training facilities during training camps.

“We are proud that our facilities, coaching resources, and the training environment created by our venue teams helped these athletes to excel in their sports,” says Whistler Sport Legacies’ Vice President of Sport Lucinda Jagger. “It is our mandate and legacy to grow sport and to develop athletes, so having these kids represent Canada and our venues in such a prestigious event proves that we are on target with our approach.”