Québec athletes bring back 70 medals from the National Winter Games
7 March 2012
Québec athletes bring back 70 medals from the National Winter Games

The 75 Team Québec athletes are back from the 2012 Special Olympics Canada National Winter Games. The Québec delegation won 70 medals in the curling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, speed skating, figure skating, and indoor hockey events held in Saint-Albert, Alberta, from February 28 to March 3, 2012.

More than 700 athletes from all over Canada took part in these Games from which Québec athletes brought back 25 gold medals, 28 silver medals and 17 bronze medals in addition to breaking 3 Québec records.

Special Olympics Québec (SOQ) congratulates all Québec athletes, coaches, volunteers and mission staff for Team Québec’s achievements and for the passion demonstrated during the Games.

“The athletes on Team Québec 2012 have all fulfilled their mission and I want to congratulate them as well as their coaches and those who accompanied them. Beyond the medals that they have won, their participation at the National Winter Games is proof of their determination, courage and perseverance. Our athletes deserve our admiration because they inspire us all to surpass ourselves”, said Daniel Granger, chairman of Special Olympics Québec. 

Ariane Chrétien Boucher, chef de mission of Team Québec 2012, is very pleased with her team’s victories at the Games. “As athletes and on both a personal and social level, it has been an extraordinary week for them as well as a very enriching experience. Most of our athletes have improved their results and have reached their goals thanks to their motivation and to the great pre-game preparation they received from their coaches. Hats off to the whole team for your efforts!”

One of the week’s highlights was Team Québec’s performance. The three speed skaters on the team each won more than one medal including 3 golds by Philip Ste-Marie from Montréal, who also collected the silver in the 111m. Alex Levasseur from Sherbrooke won a total of four medals – one gold, one silver and two bronze - while Jean-Michel Bérard, also from Sherbrooke, proudly brought home four silver medals. “What I am most happy about, said Jean-Michel Bérard, is that in all four races, I got the best results ever.”

In downhill skiing, skier Michaël Gilbert from the Laurentians held on to his Canadian title as the fastest skier living with an intellectual disability. This 25-year-old from St-Donat reached the top of the podium in each of the three scheduled events, a feat repeated by his team mates Gabrielle Thériault from Verchères and Marc-Antoine Landry from Saint-Bruno. And skier Stéphanie Savard from Québec City is double gold medalists in her division. 

The crowd was swept away by Québec’s two indoor hockey teams, the Lake Saint-Louis Warriors and the South Shore Couguars, who respectively took the silver and the bronze in their division’s finals.

Several of our athletes led Québec to victory in the snowshoeing events, namely triple gold medalist Matthieu Besnier from Québec City,  and Jessica Larrivée from Boucherville, Stephan Quick from Beaconsfield, Frédéric Bouchard from Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures and Nancy Leduc from Salaberry-de-Valleyfield who all clinched the gold. In fact, it is in this sport that the greatest number of medals was broken.

In cross-country skiing, four of the team’s six members reached the podium in the various events. They are: Rachel Bleau from Sainte-Thérèse who won two gold medals and one silver, Laurent Massignac from Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts who collected a gold medal, Carl Pietrantonio from Rawdon who brought back a gold and a silver medal; and Madeleine Laroche from Joliette who captured a silver medal.

Finally, figure skaters Anne Porfilio from Repentigny, Annie Boulanger from Baie-Comeau, Stéphanie Lachance from Magog and Zane Salera-Nasra from Montreal all skated their way to a silver medal while Vicky Dupont from Rawdon grabbed the bronze twice.

A stepping stone towards the World Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea
The 2012 National Winter Games will lead to the selection of the athletes and volunteers who will make up Team Canada at the next Special Olympics World Winter Games which will take place in 2013 in PyeongChang, South Korea.

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