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Prince Rupert athletes earned 15 medals at the 55+ BC Games

Jim Morse won three golds his first year cycling in the games
Swimmers from across the north competed during the 55+ BC Games in Greater Victoria from Sept. 13 to 17. From left to right: Diana Hoffman (Prince Rupert), Robin Olson O’Reilly (Dawson Creek), Sharon Paavola (Prince Rupert) and Dawn Quast (Prince Rupert). (Photo: supplied)

Prince Rupert brought 15 medals home from the 55+ BC Games, with cyclist Jim Morse earning the team three golds.

In total, nine P.R. athletes travelled to Greater Victoria for the games between Sept. 13 and 17 where they tested their athletic prowess against more than 2,500 participants from across the province.

This marked the first return to the games since before the pandemic.

“It was wonderful to be back in the competition,” Dawn Quast, athlete and secretary for the Zone 10 board of directors, said.

Prince Rupert members competed alongside those from Haida Gwaii, Kitimat, Nass Valley and Terrace to represent Zone 10. In total, the North West Zone earned 22 medals including nine golds, six silvers and seven bronzes.

This was the first year that Morse entered the games for cycling and he won first place in the men’s 65-69 recreational cycling road race, hill climb and time trial.

“He’s never gone [to the games] in cycling before. He went a few years ago with us as a swimmer and he wiped that up too, he got six golds. Such an athlete,” Quast said.

Three female swimmers from P.R. also each brought home a spread of medals.

Quast, competing in the women’s 70-74 bracket, earned silver in 800-metre freestyle and bronzes in 400-metre freestyle and 200-metre freestyle. Quast has attended the games more than 10 times, she said.

Sharon Paavola swam in the women’s 75-79 division and she placed second in the 100-metre breaststroke and third in the 25-metre breaststroke, the 50-metre breaststroke, the 25-metre freestyle and the 50-metre backstroke.

Diana Hoffman competed in the women’s 70-74 category and came second place in the 200-metre individual medley and third place in the 50-metre butterfly and 25-metre butterfly.

“Diana Hoffman decided about a year ago that she wanted to learn to swim butterfly. Now, if you know anything at all about swimming, you know that butterfly is a very physically demanding stroke, I don’t care how old or how fit you are … Diane medaled in 25 fly, 50 fly and the 200 individual medley (which is arguably, pitted only against the 400 individual medley, absolutely the toughest swimming race there is),” Cheryl Paavola, Hoffman’s swimming coach, wrote on Facebook Sept. 17.

In archery, there were also three P.R. competitors, Zoe Zentner, Andy Vandermeer and Jim Martin. Zentner placed third in the women’s 55-62 3D-recurve bow without sight (an event in which the shooter’s bow does not have any optical aids).

Harvey Calder and Butch Currie entered the pairs carpet bowling competition. Butch is more than 90 years old, Quast said. While they did not win a medal, it keeps them young, she said.

At the end of the tournament, all of the athletes from Zone 10 met for a shared dinner where they celebrated each of the participants’ successes.

Next year the games will be in Abbotsford between Aug. 22 and 26. Individuals from P.R. who are interested in attending should contact Quast next spring.

RELATED: Athletes return from BC Summer Games as medal winners

 Kaitlyn Bailey | Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
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