Lethbridge athlete heading to Special Olympics Canada Winter Games

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Lethbridge athlete heading to Special Olympics Canada Winter Games
The Special Olympics Canada Winter Games are coming to Calgary in just a few short weeks, and a single Lethbridge athlete is getting ready to head to the national competition for the first time. Sarah Jones has more on the 17-year-old figure skater who's looking to take home gold. – Feb 13, 2024

A Lethbridge teen will be heading to the Special Olympic Canada Winter Games this year.

This will be Moriah Van’t Land’s first time at the Special Olympic Canada Winter Games.

“I’m going to get a gold medal,” she told Global News as she practiced her routine at the Cavendish Farms Centre ice rink on Tuesday night.

The 17-year-old figure skater has been practicing with her coach Olea Taboulchanas with the Lethbridge Skating Club since 2016, and practices with other Team Alberta Special Olympic Athletes in Calgary once a week.

Since starting her journey with Taboulchanas, Moriah has gone to the Special Olympics Alberta Winter Games twice, and both times took home gold.

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“If I tell her she’s got to work harder because you might not make the team she’ll work harder because she understands that,” said Taboulchanas.

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Moriah is the sole athlete from Lethbridge attending the national winter games this year, which mom, Angela Van’t Land says is a great achievement.

“It’s been exciting,” said Van’t Land. “It’s given her an opportunity to compete and a lot of chances to do things that she might not have otherwise been able to do.”

Angela shared that Olea was the one who suggested getting Moriah into the Special Olympics, after taking part in the Can Skate program, an inclusive program funded through Skate Canada.

“After our first provincials, she didn’t talk a lot, but after she was around the group in provincials, she felt famous, I guess you would say,” laughed Taboulchanas. “After that, she was full of jokes and never stopped talking.”

“Her latest joke right now is that I’m going to be tying her skates at Nationals because she’s not going to do it. So, she’s just a big joke teller and she wants to be famous and that’s why we chose that music that we have, ‘Give me a Ten,’ because it just showcases her personality.”

Moriah will be competing in Calgary on Feb. 29, at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex with the events to be live-streamed on the Special Olympics website.

If she does well at this competition, there could be an opportunity for the young athlete to secure a spot at the World Special Olympics in Italy next year.


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