SOO - Greater Ottawa would like to congratulate Katie Xu, Jack Fan, Lise Lebeau, Brian Dooks, and Emily Byrne, the recipients of the 2016 local awards handed out at the 12th Annual Special Olympics Festival Breakfast presented by Kelly Santini LLP.
2016 Morguard Female Athlete of the Year
Katie is a fantastic athlete that is very dedicated to all of her sports. She had an incredible year, having standout performances at the Guelph Provincial Games, as well as the Canada Winter Games in Corner Brook. Katie brought home medals in 7 events across these competitions, and was selected for Team Canada for the World Winter Games in Austria in 2017 as part of the Figure Skating Team. Katie is also a fantastic swimmer winning 4 medals at the 2016 Provincials. In addition to her incredible performances, Katie has also proven to be very caring and considerate of the other athletes on her teams, and is a great representative of Special Olympics.
2016 RBC Male Athlete of the Year
Jack had a very prolific year with Special Olympics, bringing home a wealth of medals at each of his major competitions in 2016. Jack had star performances in Figure Skating at the Canada Winter Games in Corner Brook, in Swimming at the Ontario Spring Games in Guelph, and at the Track and Field Provincial Qualifiers in Ottawa. Jack brought home a total of 13 medals, including 8 gold. Jack was also selected to represent Canada at the 2017 World Games in Austria. Jack is a very hard working and motivated athlete, and his performances have been truly inspiring.
2016 Female Volunteer of the Year
Lise is a great example of a volunteer who is dedicated to her athletes. As one of the most active coaches and team managers with Special Olympics, Lise has a seemingly tireless ability to help athletes grow and improve in their sports. A mainstay of the bowling programs in Ottawa, Lise has also played a critical role in a number of other sports, providing coaching support and organizing events to support and thank our great athletes. This past year, Lise has played a critical role in both the Norm McEwen Bowling Fundraiser, and the Greater Ottawa Athlete Banquet.
2016 Male Volunteer of the Year
Brian currently coaches athletics, snowshoeing, and is the head coach at Orleans Bowling. He was the head coach of the Five Pin Bowling Team at the Special Olympics Ontario Spring Games in Guelph and was Provincial Team Liaison for this area for the Canada Winter Games in Corner Brook. He has also coached Five Pin Bowling at previous Provincial and National Games. Brian has a calm and friendly demeanor that helps to put others at ease. Brian is highly regarded for his ability to work closely with many other coaches and for his ability to communicate and involve others in the decision making process. Whether through hands-on coaching, or administrative work in team management roles, Brian has had a tremendous positive impact on a number of programs in Ottawa, and on the lives of athletes he coaches.
2016 McCool Sportsmanship Award
Emily has been competing through Special Olympics for many years, and has competed in a number of major games, maturing into a superb athlete over the years. However, it has been her leadership skills and teaching ability, specifically at the Ontario Spring Games in Guelph that have been especially impressive. One of her teammates has an associative disability that makes coaching from the front difficult. With limited practice space, Emily’s coach asked Emily to allow her to shadow her from the side. Emily agreed without hesitation and proceeded to ensure her teammate was in the correct opening position. She went through the entire routine keeping an eye on her student and stopping to make correction as needed, praising her effort. She then went through it all again without prompting. Her manner was that of one teammate helping another to do her best; ensuring she knew what she was doing and why. Emily’s performance and leadership at these games is a perfect example of this sportsmanship, an athlete who never hesitated to help out others, even in the same competition.
(Pictured: Katie Xu)
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