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(ISN) – Team BC’s week-one athletes came together on Friday to cheer each other on and celebrate their achievements at a blue and gold themed pep rally. The athletes received an electrifying welcome from mission staff and had the opportunity to hear from Team BC’s honourary captain and Olympic silver-medalist Kelsey Serwa.

Amidst chants of “we are B.C.” Serwa congratulated the team and reminded them to take a moment to recognize their own accomplishments and to show their pride in representing the province.

“There is power in numbers,” said Serwa. “Your strength as a group is so incredible. Make sure you high-five each other as you walk down the halls. And even when you are eating your meals, come together as a team. Be proud to represent B.C.”

Following the pep rally, Team BC met with Premier Christy Clark, who wished the team well at the home Games.

The next stop was the opening ceremony, where Team BC was led by flag bearer Micah Hart of Saanichton (women’s hockey).

Freestyle skiers Mackenzie Schwinghamer, 15, and Elena Gaskell, 13, were two of the athletes who attended the pep rally. Hearing from an Olympian an Canada Winter Games alumna made the upcoming Games experience more real for both of the skiers.

Schwinghamer and Gaskell will begin competition on Saturday in the slope style event. Gaskell, who is from Vernon, is looking forward to competing in her favourite freestyle event.

“I feel really excited after the pep rally and the opening ceremony,” said Gaskell. “I loved the energy of those events. I am going to try my best tomorrow and focus on completing my run. I hope to podium.”

Schwinghamer will ski tomorrow but is most looking forward to the mogul event on Tuesday.

“Moguls is my main event,” said Schwinghamer “but I’m also looking forward to cheering on my friends who are competing in ringette and alpine.”

Official competition for the 2015 Canada Winter Games begins on Saturday.

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