In 2019, British Columbian athletes proved that obstacles could be surmounted with a certain level of mental toughness.
Oftentimes, transparency and openness of one’s sport is what provide’s that level of mental toughness for athletes.
To round out the year, Black Press Media took a look back at athletes – of all ages – who overcame barriers and hardship with the same level of passion and resilience they bring to their sport.
These are the most inspirational sports stories from around the province in 2019:
Classical music and kickboxing help woman overcome learning disorders
Lindsey Christian-Hack started taking lessons in violin and kickboxing at the age of 7. The activities were picked by her mother – not out of want to expand her horizons, but to help Lindsey cope with her several learning disabilities. The Salmon Arm resident is now offering private lessons in two very different fields. Read more >
Parksville swimmer shatters four world records
Para swimmer Nicholas Bennett, 16, continued to make a strong case for a spot on Team Canada for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, after shattering four world short-course records at the International de Noel meet in Montreal. Read more >
Tofino’s Mathea Dempfle-Olin with historic medal for Canada
Tofino’s 16-year-old sensation Mathea Dempfle-Olin claimed bronze in the women’s longboard competition, which took place at the world-renowned point break of Punta Rocas, south of Lima’s city centre in Punta Negra.
“At the moment I’m definitely a little bit bummed,” Olin said, fighting back tears. “But I think when I go home and look at the big picture, I’ll be pretty happy.” Read more >
Disabled athletes paddle and bike from Revelstoke to Nelson
Two athletes paddled and biked from Revelstoke to Nelson with a catch: they have severe spinal cord injuries and cannot walk.
“I can’t make it through one Netflix show. I’d rather be outside,” said Ethan Krueger, one of the athletes participating. Ethan Krueger along with Tanelle Bolt left Revelstoke on July 2, with a goal of reaching Nelson in 10 days. Read more >
Ultramarathon runner Carter Hawke follows in father’s footsteps
When Carter Hawke was 15 years old, he would run for stretches alongside his dad, Ferg, as the elder Hawke completed the gruelling Badwater Ultramarathon – billed as the world’s most difficult footrace – in the blistering summer heat of Death Valley, Calif.
This year, the Semiahmoo Peninsula resident took home a third-place finish at the Whistler Alpine Meadows event. Read more >
Concussions end Trail’s Kyle Chernenkoff’s career, open doors behind the bench
Trail Smoke Eaters veteran defenceman Kyle Chernenkoff’s playing career came to an abrupt end this year, but the Smoke Eaters did all they could to help soften the blow. Read more >
Terrace Indigenous skater takes front page of US magazine
Gitxsan-Tsimshian member Teysean Angeline Henry, 15, was featured on the front cover of Native Hoop, a popular US magazine showcasing Indigenous success. Read more >
Whitecaps inform police of allegations against South Surrey coach after more players come forward
A number of formers players on Canada’s national women’s soccer program released details in April of abuse allegations against a Vancouver Whitecaps coach.
“We come forward 10 years later because: some of us didn’t know he was still coaching, and we all look back at our experience with Canada Soccer and the Vancouver Whitecaps and think the situation should have been handled differently,” a joint statement from 13 former members said. Read more >
The best of Canucks sports reporter Jason Botchford
He wasn’t an athlete but Jason Botchford was synonymous with the Vancouver Canucks. He died at the age of 48 and was widely known for his Canucks post-game reports, first called “The Provies,” then “The Athletties.”
His reporting provided edgy, insightful commentary and a unique, zany approach. Read more >
Trail’s Katie Yuris recieves BC Hockey Coach of the Year
Katie Yuris became just the second woman to win BC Hockey Coach of the Year, since its inception in 1979-80. She joins Christine Gardiner, who received the honour in 1996. She also joins 2012-13 recipient Ken Koshey and 1999 recipient Mike Mondin as the only Trail coaches awarded the honour. Read more >
Former hockey pro, Jim Lessard, recovering on and off the ice
Now a resident of Prince Rupert, Lessard had carved out a successful hockey career for himself, playing across Canada and the United States. When an injury ended his career, however, Lessard fell into a spiral that took him the last 20 years to emerge from. Read more >
Olympic skier from Nanaimo suing Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences
Allison Forsyth, who competed in the 2002 Winter Games, sought to become the representative plaintiff of a certified class of former elite skiers who claim they were psychologically, physically and sexually assaulted, harassed and abused by their coach, Bertrand Charest, while they were members of the Canada’s national junior skiing team. Read more >
NHL goaltender Carey Price comforts young fan who lost mom to cancer
The family of a young boy who lost his mom to cancer said words cannot described their gratitude for the kindness shown by Montreal Canadiens netminder and Anahim Lake’s Carey Price after an emotional meeting between the two earlier this year. Read more >
NHL honours Aldergrove athlete and grandmother’s ‘fight’ against cancer in special match
Born and raised in Aldergrove, Las Vegas Golden Knights defenceman Shea Theodore battled the San Jose Sharks in a special “Hockey Fights Cancer” match.
Theodore, now a survivor, continues to curb the stigma surrounding men’s testicular health both on and off the ice. Along the way, he’s been accompanied in the fight against cancer by another member of his family, his grandmother Kay Darlington. Read more >
Going by electric car: Revelstoke adventurer does 100 summits without fossil fuels
In 2006, Greg Hill set a world record of 50,000 ft in 24 hours. In 2010 he climbed and skied 2 million vertical ft in a year. In 2014, he did 330,000 ft in a month.
But this year included a special accomplishment to add to Hill’s growing list: adventuring sustainably.
“If I was just to have done ten summits, it’s like ‘oh, maybe he just got lucky,’ but it you do 100 ventures it’s proof that it works,” Hill said. Read more >