As week two of the Canada Winter Games kicked off Sunday with curling, squash and female hockey, Team Alberta still sits second in medal standings behind Quebec.
Week two features archery, alpine skiing, badminton, cross country skiing, female and male curling, figure skating, gymnastics, female hockey, judo, snowboard and squash.
Chef Pat Lechelt said the home team is going strong with 44 medals — 16 of them gold.
“Our athletes have been great ambassadors and have done a great job, on and off the field of the play,” she said.
“We, as Team Alberta, are very excited to be in Red Deer and having the 2019 Winter Games in our home province, our athletes are feeling that home-field advantage with their family and friends cheering them on. It’s a wonderful feeling.”
So far, Team Alberta has earned gold in artistic swimming, artistic gymnastics, wheelchair basketball, biathlon, short track and long track speed skating and freestyle skiing.
A particularly exciting event was when Alberta took home gold in wheelchair basketball for the first time since 1995, with a 51-48 win over Ontario on Feb. 21st.
“Taking a few of those medals away from Quebec felt really, really good,” Lechelt said. “For us, it was a wonderful, wonderful win. It was such an electrifying competition. We’re so happy and thrilled to win the gold.”
She said realistically Team Alberta should finish within the top three provinces.
“We want our athletes to compete and do the very best that they can and we’ll see where it takes us. But we’re anticipating doing very well the second week as we did the first week.”
All Albertans should be very proud of the job Red Deer is doing, she said.
“The countless volunteers that you have are amazing. It doesn’t matter if someone is sweeping the floor after a match or checking accreditation tags or standing outside in the cold directing traffic — everyone has a smile on their face.”