Craig Bakay | May 22, 2019
Granite Ridge Educational Centre can add a couple more names to its growing list of accomplished athletes.
Grade 12s Devin Cooney and Nick Anderson have returned home from the Youth Invitational Special Olympics in Toronto last week (May 14-17) with a total medal haul of five, including two golds.
Cooney took the gold in shot put and silver in both the 200 metres and 400 metres. He was also fifth in the long jump.
Anderson won gold in the long jump and a bronze in the 100 metres (both personal bests) and added a sixth in the shot put.
“This was a big deal because there were 2,500 athletes from all across North America, including Cayman Islands and Jamaica,” said coach Tammy Steele.
“There were athletes from Chicago, North Carolina, Texas, Michigan, Manitoba, Alberta, Quebec,” said Cooney.
The guys are no strangers to athletic competition. Last year, Cooney was on a gold-medal winning basketball team from the school and Anderson took gold on the soccer team. Albeit, those were much smaller events.
Cooney actually likes basketball best, he said, citing Michael Jordan as the best ever. But the Invitational in Toronto was “a lot of fun, evenly fun with basketball.”
Anderson prefers the field events, such as long jump, despite winning bronze in the 100 metres.
“With the running events, after a while my legs hurt,” he said, explaining that he’s had a bout of shin splints lately. “But my goal is to be a weightlifter like my Uncle Murray.”
(Murray Anderson has had considerable success in strongman competitions, including two 12th-place finishes in Ontario’s Strongest Man in 2005 and 2007.)
Both Cooney and Anderson, like most athletes, remember the food at the competition.
“They had good breakfast, lunch and supper,” said Cooney. “And cappuccinos.”
“And Ice-caps,” said Anderson.
Next year, the Invitational is scheduled to be held in Kingston and both athletes are looking forward to it, albeit for different reasons.
The school is looking at taking most of the student body to the Kingston meet to cheer them on.
“The student body is coming to watch?” asked Cooney. “I want that!
“I guess I’ll really have to train harder.” Anderson said that while he likes the idea of competing, having a lot of people there watching him really isn’t his thing.
“No, not really, anxiety,” he said.
The Toronto Invitational marked 50th year of Special Olympics since its inception by Dr. Frank Hyden and Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1968.