While in Prince George, the team took in a Prince George Cougars hockey game. (Quesnel Special Olympics Facebook)

While in Prince George, the team took in a Prince George Cougars hockey game. (Quesnel Special Olympics Facebook)

Quesnel Special Olympics team travels to Prince George

The group made their first overnight trip to compete in more than a year

What was once routine, has become extraordinary during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After going more than a year without, Quesnel’s Special Olympics athletes made the trip up Highway 97 to face off against their counterparts in Prince George.

Special Olympics coach Rick Prosk said the club used to make a half dozen trips to Prince George every year.

“It used to be we took those trips to Prince George for granted,” Prosk said.

“To get it restarted was a pretty big deal.”

The Quesnel Special Olympics has returned to full programming after running a reduced schedule due to COVID-19 rules last year. Athletes are now playing basketball and floor hockey, which were not played at all last season.

READ MORE: Special Olympics Quesnel sprints past COVID-19 challenges

Sports like gymnastics, swimming and curling were shut down in December of 2020, leaving only snowshoeing as a year-round sport.

“Our registration numbers are down, but we have enough volunteers, more volunteers, I think than two years ago,” Prosk said. “We’re running the programs with a few less athletes participating, but going ahead regardless.”

A rise in COVID-19 thanks to the omicron variant has many groups, including Special Olympics, holding their breath heading into the holiday break. Special Olympics takes direction from a provincial office.

“We are planning to start up Jan. 4, and if we are allowed to, we will,” Prosk said.

Qualifying competitions for provincial winter games in 2023 are scheduled for early 2022.

“The tough part is, we’ve seen this in the past,” Prosk said.

“We lost the whole summer competition cycle because the summer games qualifiers were to be held in 2020, and those were cancelled, provincial games were cancelled, national games were cancelled. So that whole summer games qualifier for four years fell by the wayside.”

Anyone interested in joining or volunteering with Quesnel Special Olympics should contact Prosk via email at rprosk@telus.net.

READ MORE: Quesnel Special Olympics athlete shares workout

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: cassidy.dankochik@quesnelobserver.com


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