Muskoka To-DAILY

Ontario Winter Games hands out first ‘cold’ medal at opening ceremonies Thursday

GRAVENHURST — And the ‘cold’ medal goes to … the more than 1,000 Ontario Winter Games athletes (and organizers and volunteers) who braved frigid -20 temperatures Thursday night to kick off the four-day central Ontario sporting festival at the Muskoka Wharf.

Some of the 700 volunteers helped warm up the crowd with dancing and cheerleading.

Some of the 700 volunteers helped warm up the crowd with dancing and cheerleading.

Busloads of competitors screamed and cheered — and that was just to stay warm — as MPP Susan Gallant declared the Games open.

With 27 sporting events, more than 2,100 athletes, 900 coaches and 5,000 spectators expected over the weekend across Muskoka and over the Midland, Orillia and Barrie, the Ontario Winter Games promises to be not only a test of athleticism and sportsmanship, but of good old Canadian endurance, as the cold snap continues.

Most of the Games are indoors (thank God), but with a few competitions like skiing and snowboarding outside, it’ll be a real challenge just getting to the sites for some, among those a few who got caught up in traffic behind the big 100-car pileup in the morning at Innisfil.

Athletes shouted and cheered as the Games began - and they got to kick off the four-day sports extravaganza with a party the opening night.

Athletes shouted and cheered as the Games began – and they got to kick off the four-day sports extravaganza with a party the opening night.

But it didn’t deter most of the athletes and their supporters and the organizers who warmed up to the opening ceremonies, hosted by emcee Tyler Morrison, and featuring two-time Juno nominated rapper Son Real and DJ ‘A’ from Vancouver, who called this the coldest gig he’s ever played — which drew a huge mocking roar from the crowd who showered him and the stage with light sticks.

The women’s hockey teams, badminton players, figure skaters, fencers, sledge hockey players and wheelchair basketball athletes didn’t let a little thing like frigid cold stop them from celebrating like they were on the medal podium.

The Games had just begun and already they declared themselves winners.

Now let the Games officially begin!

(Four events began Thursday, including men’s hockey at the Huntsville Summit Centre, ringette at the Lake of Bays arena in Baysville, synchronized swimming at the Bracebridge Sportsplex and curling and wheelchair at the Barnfiled Point Community Centre in Orillia.)

See the Ontario Winter Games website for detailed scheduling of events — all open to the public.

Join in the fun with Canada’s future Olympians.

“This is where they all started,” Gallant reminded the cheerful hordes, who boarded the dozens buses back to their bases pumped and ready for some quick R&R before taking on all comers Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

For more info: www.ontariowintergames.com

Facebook: Muskoka 2014 Ontario Winter Games

Twitter: @2014OWG

See photo gallery below – click on pictures to enlarge.

 

Short URL: http://www.muskokatodaily.com/?p=18033

Posted by on Feb 27 2014. Filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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