8 Québec athletes at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea
21 June 2012
8 Québec athletes at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea

Special Olympics Québec is proud to announce that 8 athletes of Special Olympics Québec will be part of the national team at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games which will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea, from January 29 to February 5, 2013.

Among the 141 athletes, coaches and mission staff who will represent Canada, the Québec athletes Philip Ste-Marie from Montréal (speed skating), Jessica Larivée from Boucherville (snowshoeing), Jean-François Leclerc from Québec (snowshoeing), Matthieu Besnier from Québec (snowshoeing), Rachel Bleau from Sainte-Thérèse (cross country skiing), Michaël Gilbert from Saint-Donat (alpine skiing),Stéphanie Savard from Québec (alpine skiing), Gabrielle Thériault from Verchères (alpine skiing), as well as ski coach Michel Guyon from St-Bruno, and cross country skiing coach Gregory McKenna, from Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.

The selection of the eight athletes was based on their performance at the last Special Olympics Canada National Winter Games held in St.Albert, Alberta, in February 2012.

Daniel Granger, chairman of Special Olympics Québec, says that it is a source of great pride for the Québec movement to have 8 of its athletes and 2 trainers qualifying for the next international competition. “The selection of these 8 athletes is proof of their determination and discipline. I also wish to congratulate the coaches, parents, friends and volunteers who give out their time through our sport programs and to organize competitions. They help flourish and enable them to reach new heights and improve their quality of life.”

During the eight-day sporting event, as many as 3,200 athletes from 120 countries will compete in 7 winter sports. Canadian athletes will compete in 6 of them: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing and speed skating.

“It doesn’t get any bigger than this within the Special Olympics community, and the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games are an incredible opportunity for our Canadian athletes,” said Sharon Bollenbach, vice-president of sport with Special Olympics Canada. “These world games are also important because they bring attention to the talents and capabilities of people with an intellectual disability, helping to change attitudes and to break down barriers that can exclude them from full participation in their communities.”

Athletes commit to an enhanced weekly training regimen and take part in all aspects of the conditioning and training program: physical and mental training; committing to a healthy lifestyle; attending all team functions, including multi-day sport-specific training camps and staging; and being role models for other Special Olympics athletes, both on and off the field of play.

They are also supported by a tremendous network of resources leading up to and during the competition, including mission and coaching staff, a team physician, mental trainer, fitness instructors, nutritionists, and motivational speakers.

About the Special Olympics World Winter Games
The 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games will be held from January 29 to February 5 in PyeongChang, South Korea, the hub of winter sports. It’s expected to be the largest Special Olympics World Winter Games, featuring seven categories of sports including alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snow boarding, snowshoeing, speed skating, figure skating, and floor hockey. The Games will demonstrate the unity that comes with overcoming barriers of race, religion, ethnicity and economic and education level. More information is available at

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