It could possibly be their first step toward an Olympic dream for the 1,200 athletes at the B.C. Winter Games this weekend in Kamloops.
During the next three days, athletes from across the province aged 9 to 17 years-old will compete in 19 different sports from the slopes, to the arena, to the field, to the pool.
For many, this will be the first time participating in a multisport competition and the first time being away from home.
At the Opening Ceremony on Thursday evening, the youth heard words of inspiration on how all their hard work could get them to the international podium.
In her speech to the athletes, Canadian Olympian Elli Terwiel reflected on the B.C. Winter Games being some of the fondest memories in the beginning years of her slalom skiing career.
“My journey to the Olympics really began at the Winter Games,” she said.
Terwiel was 12 when she competed at the 2002 games in Williams Lake, alongside Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa — who happened to earned gold on Thursday in PyeongChang.
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It was Terwiel’s first time being on her own for a competition, and “she loved it,” she said.
Terwiel went on to represent Team Canada at the Sochi 2014 Games in the women’s slalom competition, but did not finish.
Looking back, she said, the experiences at the provincial Games helped her further her athletic pursuits.
“For me, making it to the Olympics felt like an accomplishment on its own … it was a moment I had dreamt about since I was four years old,” she explained.
“Every athletes story is different. Today you’re adding another chapter towards your Olympic dream.”