Despite frigid temperatures that tested the schedules of several outdoor sports, Team BC finished the 2019 Canada Winter Games with a record 30 gold medals. After two weeks of incredible athletic accomplishments, community spirit, and cultural pride Team BC athletes, coaches, managers and mission staff are back to their home communities to share their successes and experience.
A delegation of 349 athletes, coaches and support staff showcased their commitment to sport through 87 podium performances including 30 gold, 28 silver, and 29 bronze medals. Team BC was fourth in the overall medal count behind Quebec with 146 medals, Ontario with 105 and Alberta with 100 medals.
Though BC recorded 88 medals with home-field advantage at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, the 30 gold medals was a record that most didn’t see coming as the temperature plunged throughout the two weeks of competition.
“What an incredible performance despite trying circumstances,” said Team BC Chef de Mission Jennifer Scott. “Our athletes and coaches pushed themselves to the limit to create outstanding performances for this province. I salute each and every one of them for their patience with organizers as they did what they could to provide the optimal competitive environment.”
Though British Columbia comprises 13% of the population in Canada, Team BC won 17% of the medals at the Games.
“I am so proud of B.C.’s athletes, coaches and mission staff,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “From curling to skiing to women’s hockey, it was an exhilarating and action-packed Winter Games filled with so many accomplishments, great stories and a record setting gold medal count.”
BC had several sports that shone in Red Deer.
Team BC men’s curling team recorded its first gold medal in BC’s history and by doing so, recorded BC’s 29th gold medal, setting the record for gold medals in a winter Games. Team BC won 24 gold medals in 1971 and 2007 and 28 gold medals in the 2011 Canada Winter Games.
Team BC’s women’s hockey team battled in a tense game against Ontario to win the bronze medal 5-4 at the Canada Winter Games. It was the first medal for the women’s Team BC program at the Games since they won a silver medal in 1991.
Para Nordic skiers swept the podium three times in cross country events and in the last competition of the day; the relay mixed team won a gold medal for Team BC.
The wheelchair basketball team has a bright future ahead — finishing the 2019 Canada Winter Games in its best position since the 2003 Games. After finishing in seventh place the last three Games, Team BC bumped up a position to sixth even though they floored a young team. Ten of their athletes will be eligible for the 2023 Games in Prince Edward Island.
BC Games alumni represented 55% of the athletes on Team BC and contributed to 59% of the medals.
“We are incredibly proud of our athletes who each contributed to achieving our record breaking performance,” continued Scott. “Our entire team were tremendous ambassadors both on and off the field of play representing Team BC and the province at these Games.”
Outside of the field of play, Team BC athletes showed that they are leaders and ambassador for sport and in their communities. They contributed to the Canada Games legacy Mitts for Many project that supported the Mustard Seed organization in Red Deer. Team BC donated over 600 pairs of mitts to the program.
Team BC will take part in the 2021 Canada Summer Games in Niagara.