Two young athletes from Salmon Arm competed against other para-athletes on camera for a new season of the popular TV show All-Round Champion.
Maggie Manning and Lily Brook both represented Salmon Arm on the competition show filmed in July and August 2022 that sees athletes play against one another as they try to master each other’s preferred sport.
Each athlete selected for the cast is an expert in a sport they know well and have played many times. They coach each other for three days to learn the different sports, then all athletes compete in each sport and try to win a gold, silver or bronze medal, each worth a certain amount of points. Points are also handed out for things like good sportsmanship. None of the players are eliminated over the course of the 10 episodes and in the end, the athlete with the most points wins.
Manning said the offer to be on the show came in the form of an Instagram direct message, which she was wary of being a scam. But the message turned out to be sincere.
“I thought, ‘what an incredible opportunity to showcase adaptive sports!’”said Manning. She applied, interviewed the next week, and eventually joined the other athletes for two months in Ontario to film season five of All-Round Champion.
Manning has appeared in a Telus TV commercial before but didn’t have experience filming something for an extended period of time like a television series.
“It was a super incredible experience and I loved every minute of it,” said Manning. “It’s something I never thought I’d be doing but it all just kind of fell into place.”
Manning said she enjoyed living and competing with the other athletes and that ultimately they all became a family. As well, she is excited to give adaptive sports, more screen time and create awareness about the options athletes and people living with disabilities have in sport. Manning coached sledge hockey to her fellow athletes on the show.
“I think this is on the edge of something big,” said Manning. “If the show reaches one kid with a disability, one person who wants to get active but faces barriers, I think that encouragement is so beneficial and important. I’m so excited for this show to grow and reach a larger population.”
Lily Brook felt much the same way and said All-Round Champion was also her first time filming something like it. Brook appreciated being able to showcase adaptive boxing on the show, as she said adaptive boxing isn’t considered its own sport a lot of the time.
“Other adaptive sports are developed well enough where they have people that know it and enjoy it but boxing is in still in that development zone right now,” said Brook.
Adaptive boxing can be done in different ways depending on the athletes’ needs, and Brook taught wheelchair boxing on the show.
“Lots of power and movement in boxing comes from the legs, but we can get movement in other ways when we don’t have that,” said Brook. “It’s pretty cool being able to teach what I do.”
Brook said she discovered a passion for coaching others through the show that she might not have realized, and she is thankful for it. She also enjoyed getting close to other athletes since she hasn’t often played team sports other than a basketball team she is on based out of Vancouver.
“I really do love boxing, it’s the sport that started off an amazing path for me so being able to represent it was amazing,” said Brook.
Both Manning and Brook said it was exciting to have each other on the show and to both be able to represent Salmon Arm.