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Posted: November 16, 2004

Triathlon: Sharon Donnelly visits Opaskwayak Cree Nation and Town of The Pas

Sharon Donnelly, professional triathlete, was recently invited by our triathlon team to visit our community to talk with the students in our schools and host two triathlon clinics. Donnelly, has been a member of the National Elite Triathlon Team for the past 9 years, competed in the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, won the gold medal at the 1999 Pan American Games and the Canadian Triathlon Championships three times.

Sharon visited Joe A Ross School, Scott Bateman, University College of the North and MBCI to talk to students about goal setting, overcoming obstacles and achieving success. On both Monday and Tuesday evenings she hosted triathlon clinics; one for Kids of Steel and one for adults - Approximately 25 participants learned about the more technical aspects of triathlon as well as many racing tips and strategies. Families from The Pas, OCN and Flin Flon participated.

It is oftentimes difficult for communities in northern Manitoba to gain access to sporting opportunities, coaching, facilities and equipment. We have trouble gaining support from provincial sport organizations due to our location. Yet on this occasion Sharon was more than willing to spend the time it took to get here, plus was readily willing to adapt to our culture. There was an underlying theme in Sharon's presentations that triathlon is not only a sport for the 'more advantaged', but is a sport for every one of every background. This had a positive impact on both Native and non-Native participants, experienced and inexperienced triathletes, parents, children and teachers.

In closing, we would like to extend our extreme gratitude for her visit. During the past two days Sharon went above and beyond the normal agenda and dedicated every extra effort to ensure that our communities youth benefited from her experiences. She not only represented herself as a world-class athlete, but displayed personal attributes that members of our community recognized as those of a very unique and inspiring individual.

From: James Wilson and Adrianna Sawcyn
Tri-North Triathlon Team

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