Nelson athletes enoy spirit of the games

Nelson’s Ella Keelan captured during her bronze medal floor performance at the BC Winter Games in Mission. - Tena Lindenlaub photo
Nelson’s Ella Keelan captured during her bronze medal floor performance at the BC Winter Games in Mission.
— image credit: Tena Lindenlaub photo

The BC Winter Games in Mission (February 20 to 22) featured plenty of great events and memories for the hundreds of athletes and coaches that attended. Among them were several Nelson residents who enjoyed various levels of success, but all shared a great experience.

Gymnast, Ella Keelan won a silver medal for beam and a bronze medal for floor. It was the 14-year-old’s first time competing at the provincial event.

“She was really thrilled. She’s been to provincials before but this is just a different calibre of talent,” said her mother Cathy Grierson.

Keelan has been involved in gymnastic since she was six.


Keiran Marchand did well considering he was competing against the best in the province. He managed a sixth place finish on the individual race and a fifth place finish in the sprint race.

The Games experience was great for Marchand  given that he was competing in a world class setting which hosted the 2010 Olympics. He stayed at the Olympic village while in Whistler which was like being in a plush hotel compared to sharing a class room with other athletes in a Mission school.


Nelson Jr. Ladies Curling Team consisting of skip Lauren Walgren, third Christina Cutler, and lead Noelle Wang along with second Robyn Flynn from Castlegar, placed fourth in their pool. They played against two of the teams that won gold and bronze.

The players found that their skill level was quite close to the other teams from the interior, but it was difficult to play against teams from the lower mainland and island as they have many more opportunities to play competitive teams on a regular basis.

Speed Skating:

Spencer Pearson-Atkins of Nelson  was unable to medal, but set personal bests in most of his races.  He managed to make it into the A Final of the 1000-metre event but fell during the race and was unable to finish.

The speed skating team, comprised of members from the Nelson Speed Skating Club, was led by head coach Jason Hartleb of Castlegar and former national team member Daryl Rasmussen of Nelson.

“We had some falls but overall the team performed beyond expectations, lots of personal bests,” said Hartleb.

Rasmussen was also happy with the team’s performance.  “I was very pleased to see the high level of competition at the Winter Games and to see our Nelson athletes do so well.  They all worked very hard.”


Haley Elias, Reese McCrory and Emma Wheeldon  competed in female hockey. However, the team struggled against the more powerful squads from the lower mainland and the island.

While they did not win a medal, they called the  experience great.

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