Two weeks after returning from his duties at the Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games in Antigonish, N.S. the memories are still vivid for Penticton’s Ray Huson.
Coaching the nine-member Team B.C. bocce squad at the whirlwind, five-day event, he could come up with just one word to describe the experience.
No stranger to the fun of working with Special Olympians, having coached at three Canada Winter Games and last year going to the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria, for him it’s not just about the medals but the people competing.
“You always get more back than you put in,” said Huson before the event began. “It’s so great to watch the personal growth of the athletes.
The efforts of his team at the games was particularly impressive with eight of the nine competitors earning a berth in the medal round, coming away with a two gold, two bronze and three silver medals.
“It was a busy, busy, time,” said Huson. “There were 64 athletes in bocce so we were pretty stoked with the results. We were pretty happy with that.
“The athletes really pulled through, she was toasty, it was above 30 C everyday and the humidex, it felt like 40 C, so not only did they have stiff competition, they had to battle the weather.”
At this point it’s not know if any of the athletes will be among the four Canadians who will go to the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Although he applied for the coaching job, Huson lost out in his bid to Kelowna’s David Wilkinson.
“You can’t go if you don’t apply,” he said with a laugh.
He described the short time they had in Antigonish as “bitter, sweet,” wishing they had longer to see more.
“But overall everybody had a blast. They were incredible hosts. The volunteers all did fantastic jobs. It was definitely a fun time. The time just goes so fast,” he said.
Next up for Huson will be the BC Special Olympic Winter Games coaching the regional cross-country ski team.
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