Two Local Athletes Earn Medals at Special Olympics

Newfoundland and Labrador was proudly represented at the 2020 Special Olympics in Thunder Bay, Ontario last week by a team of outstanding athletes, including two fantastic participants from Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s: Ryan Drover and Hannah Samuelson.

Ryan Drover

Ryan Drover

Ryan did 3 individual races, as well as a relay. He was cross country skiing in the classical technique. His final times were as follows:

  • 2.5k classical final time: 11:31.20 (his qualifying time in 2019, which earned him a spot on the Provincial Team was 16:32.02)
  • 5k classical SILVER (final time: 26:21.20) (qualifying time, 34:04.32)
  • 7.5k classical SILVER (final time 34.59.20) (qualifing time, 49:32.12)
  • Men’s 3X1k relay (with teammates Michael Budden and Jody Lawrence) GOLD final time 14:55.70

This was Ryan’s first time competing at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games, however he has previously represented Newfoundland & Labrador for swimming in 2014 and 2018. In 2018, Ryan was also named Male Athlete of the Year in the Town of Portugal Cove St. Philip’s Best of PCSP Awards.

Ryan has been a Special Olympics athlete for most of his life! He started participating in programs when he was six years old. Ryan currently participates in Swimming, Curling, Powerlifting, Golf, Soccer, Athletics and Cross Country Skiing.

Ryan credits Special Olympics with helping him become independent. The social skills Ryan has mastered by participating in Special Olympics has made the biggest difference in his life. Ryan believes that the social skills he learned while participating in sports was an important factor in obtaining full time work.

Hannah Samuelson

Hannah Samuelson

Hannah completed in cross country skiing classical technique. Hannah competed in 3 races and came home with a medal of each colour. Her final times were as follows:

  • 100m classical SILVER (final time 26.60, qualifying time 37.45)
  • 500m classical BRONZE (final time 2:35.70, qualifying time, 3:19.51)
  • 3 X 1k Women’s relay (NL picked up a teammate from another province because we only had 2 female skiers) GOLD 17:18.90

Hannah has been with Special Olympics since she was a young teenager. She is a multi-sport athlete participating in Cross County Skiing, Track and Swimming. Special Olympics has been important to Hannah because it has opened her up to friends and new friendships. Hannah also enjoys helping others and Special Olympics has provided her the means to do this.

This was Hannah’s first time travelling to a National Games, and she did an amazing job representing Newfoundland and Labrador! Way to go, Hannah!

More About Special Olympics

Established in 1969, the Canadian chapter of this international movement is dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with an intellectual disability through the transformative power and joy of sport. Operating out of sport clubs in 12 provincial and territorial Chapters, this grassroots movement reaches beyond the sphere of sport to empower individuals, change attitudes and build communities. From two-year-olds to mature adults, more than 45,000 athletes with an intellectual disability are registered in Special Olympics year-round programs across Canada. They are supported by more than 21,000 volunteers, including more than 16,000 trained coaches.

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