Local rhythmic gymnast wins five medals at Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games



By Ron Giofu


Another local athlete has brought home medals from the Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games.

Celine LaBrecque, 21, brought home five bronze medals in rhythmic gymnastics from the competition held in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. It was the same games where Kyle Spearing competed and brought home a bronze medal in golf.

Celine won bronze in each of her routines – ball, hoop, ribbon and clubs – as well as a bronze medal overall.

“I was actually very proud because I didn’t think I was going to win anything,” said Celine. “It was a tough competition.”

Celine’s mother Cindy was one of the coaches for Team Ontario for the rhythmic gymnastics competition. She said Celine received new routines only two years ago.

Celine said she felt good coming off of the floor from all of her routines, adding that having her mother as one of the coaches made her feel better. Cindy said it was an honour to be chosen as one of the coaches.

“When I get to a competition, my mom just says to pretend it’s a practice,” said Celine.

Celine LaBrecque (left) of Amherstburg captured five bronze medals in rhythmic gymnastics at the recent Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games. Her mother Cindy (right) was also a coach with the rhythmic gymnastics team.

Cindy said of the 15 rhythmic gymnasts from Ontario, they brought home 54 medals. She noted the games were at the “beautiful campus” of Saint Francis Xavier University and that the people of Antigonish showed tremendous hospitality to all Special Olympians.

“People would literally stop their cars and let us cross the street,” said Cindy, adding that others would give coaches money in grocery stores to buy treats for the athletes.

“It was a little overwhelming,” said Cindy. “I’ve never seen anything like that in the country.”

Celine said she practices twice per week, with many practices during the school year at Sandwich West Public School in LaSalle with others being at Heritage Park Alliance Church. As for her future plans, Celine said she will “go to competitions and see where I sit and go from there.”
Cindy added the next provincial qualifier is in 2019.

“She’s going to go back and see how she does and take it from there,” said Cindy.

Celine admitted she had been contemplating retirement from the sport but when she picks up the equipment, she realizes she is not ready for that yet.

“That feeling I get (upon picking up the equipment), I’m not ready to put it down yet,” said Celine.

Cindy added that both herself and father Bob are very proud of Celine’s latest accomplishments. Counting the most recent games, Celine estimates her overall medal total to be over 60.

“We were very proud to see how she pulled it together and succeeded,” said Cindy. “It was a great games.”

Cindy added that Celine has benefited greatly from Special Olympics.

“It’s been a positive influence on Celine’s life,” said Cindy. “This is the place where she grew friendships. This is the place where she grew a social life. It’s really helped her life.”

Celine, who starts the CICE program at St. Clair College this week, added she is grateful to all who have helped her along the way.

“I would like to thank all the coaches and my mom,” she said.


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