Byram and Smith Named Flag-bearers for WCSG Closing Ceremonies

Kamloops - Team BC ended the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games with the most impressive medal haul in recent history, earning medals in every sport.  The 345 athletes from across BC walked off the fields, courts, pools, course, mountains, lakes and mats with 130 Gold, 68 Silver and 63 Bronze medals, in increase of 32% over 2007.  The 261 total medals of 2011 betters the mark of 197 won at the 2007 Games in Strathcona County, AB.  

“This is an amazing performance by Team BC,” said Irene Schell (Victoria)Team BC Chef de Mission. “This proves that BC's sport system, which receives funding from the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, and includes provincial sport organizations, multi-sport organizations and sport partners, is doing an incredible job helping athletes achieve personal best performances and to reach their podium potential. It also gives coaches the tools and resources they need to do their job. Team BC is a team effort and this is a tremendous team result.”

"The talent pool of athletes in this province is deep," continued Schell. "I look forward to following these athletes as they continue their journey to the top of national and international podiums."

Swimmers Joseph Byram (VKSC) and Kierra Smith (LLSC)  won an astounding 16 medals between them in the pool and for that, Team BC named both of them joint Flag Bearers for Sunday's Closing Ceremony.  Byram won nine Gold medals while Smith earned seven Gold medals and one Silver medal.  
Video snippet introducing flag-bearers.

Team BC was involved in virtually every final competion on the final day of the Games.  

Badminton won their encounter against Alberta winning seven matches enroute to their Gold medal. Vanora Lo (Vancouver) won her singles match in two straight sets 21-10 21-15.

"Today I wasn't as sore as I felt yesterday," said Lo alluding to an injured knee. "I felt more prepared and comfortable. I hope to take a holiday now with my mom to Taiwan to go to the Junior World Championships. I want to take in the atmosphere and check out the calibre of play because I hope to be competing there one day."

BC's rowers walked away with six Gold medals on their final day of competition, placing first in the men's single, pair, four, and double as well as the women's double and eight. At the end of three exciting days on the water Team BC's rowing crew collected 11 Golds and one Silver. 

BC won the women's soccer Gold Medal with a 3-1 win over Manitoba in a physical match that saw one red card for BC.  Captain Jasmine Mander (Delta) said after the game,  "Like any Gold medal game you want it as equally as the next team. Both teams want to be physical. It was expected. Both teams wanted to win."

The men's soccer team won the Silver medal with a 0-2 loss to Alberta.

In volleyball, the women's team won the Gold medal while the men won the Bronze.

In men's cross country mountain bike, Quinn Moberg (Garibaldi Highlands) won a Silver medal while Amanda Wakeling (Courtenay) took the Bronze in the women's race.

In gymnastics, Nicolas Garfias (Abbotsford) won six Gold medals over the entire competition. In total, gymnastics won 20 medals for Team BC.  On the final day 10 medals were won by the men while the women added another five medals.

"We're very happy with our results," said Valentin Stan (North Vancouver), Team BC manager for gymnastics. "The boys had a rough competition at the Nationals but they bounced back here in Kamloops."

It wasn't an easy win in field hockey but the women managed to get the job done. After having an easier time in the round robin, Team BC had to dig deep to pull out a 1-0 win over Alberta for the Gold medal. Samantha McComb (Delta) scored in the 41st minute to secure the win.

"We were a little jittery," admitted McComb. "It was like BC was supposed to win. There was a lot of pressure."

"They definitely did feel the pressure from us, from the Provincial Sport Organization and from themselves," said head coach Jenn Beagan(Vancouver). "But they were able to rise to the occasion."

In swimming Luke Reilly (Richmond) won the Gold medal in the 5km while Justin Chan (Vancouver) won the Silver.

"I felt a bit tired.  It's been a long meet," said Reilly. "But my race plan was to get a lead at the start so I could focus on my swim and not worry about what other swimmers were doing."

Sherry Liu (Burnaby) won the Gold medal in the women's 5km race.

BC men dominated on the rugby pitch again Sunday to win their game with Saskatchewan 41-5, earning a Gold medal for Team BC.

"I'm very proud," said head coach Shane Thompson (Victoria). "They did everything that we asked of them. They kept playing within the team concept that we have been preaching since day one. It's great to win but it's more secondary to how they played," he added. " I'm really pleased with the work they put in and the finished product. It's a good sign for BC and sevens."

Notables over the past 10 days include:

Swimming won an incredible 73 medals in the pool (40 Gold 17 Silver 16 Bronze); athletics followed with 42 (18 Gold 15 Silver 9 Bronze) and Canoe/Kayak with 33 (4 Gold 14 Silver 15 Bronze). 

Wheelchair athletics athlete Tristan Smyth (Maple Ridge) won three Gold medals (200m, 400m and 1500m) after being injured in January 2011 and competing in his first multi-sport Games.

Women's soccer head coach Markus Reinkens (Port Moody) demonstrated the epitome of fair play when, after a Northwest Territories athlete was red carded early in the game for a hand ball, he pulled one of his own players to compete with ten women for the rest of the game.

Team BC race walker Katelynn Ramage (Nanaimo) was told when she arrived at the Games that her event had been cancelled due to the fact that no other athlete entered the race. Ramage and athletic's coach Allen Johnston (Nanaimo) offered a race walking clinic for three Northwest Territories athletes who then entered the race. The event was back on and Ramage won a Gold medal setting a Western Canada Games Record in the process. Two NWT athletes who would not have received a medal otherwise won a Silver and Bronze medal respectively.

In rowing, despite dealing with an equipment issue (broken rudder) during the finals of the women's pair and rowing an extra 500m, Hannah Nielsen (Victoria) and Michelle Aylard (Sidney) won the Gold medal despite their equipment issues.

In canoe/kayak, after winning a Bronze medal in the C4 1000m, Sandra Sorescu (Maple Ridge) jumped into a powerboat and was taken to the start of the K4 1000m where she filled the position of an injured teammate and won her second Bronze medal of the day.

BC's golf and triathlon teams both made history at these Games, winning the first Gold medals ever in these sports which had their inaugural debut.

BC stood in first place in flag points after week one and was first in medal standings. The final tally has BC in first place in flag points with 213. Alberta was second with 187, followed by Manitoba with 166. Flag points represent a system of measuring and ranking overall performance by provinces at the Western Canada Summer Games and are an indication of the depth of each respective provincial sport system. For example, flag points means soccer, with two medals (men’s and women’s) can be compared equivalently to canoe/kayak that has numerous medals in many disciplines.

The last time Team BC exceeded 200 flag points was when Abbotsford hosted the Western Canada Summer Games in 1995.

Team BC captured over 52% of the total Gold medals (Team BC won more Gold medals than the rest of the provinces and territories combined).

"I want to thank Kamloops for their hospitality," added Schell. "I am proud to have lead this team in our home province. Without the expertise of the Host Society, spectacular venues to compete on and thousands of volunteers to take care of our every need, this result would not be possible."

"And finally thank you to our Minister, the Honourable Ida Chong, and the Government of BC for the ongoing support for sport and Team BC."

Team BC sent 345 athletes aged 12 to 42 and 72 coaches to the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games. BC has now won the Western Canada Summer Games Cup for the 10th time since the Games’ inception in 1975.

The 2011 Western Canada Summer Games took place Aug. 5-14 in Kamloops and brought together approximately 2,300 athletes competing in 19 sports, along with coaches, managers and officials from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories and the Yukon Territory.