Hundreds of athletes descend on Kamloops for B.C. Winter Games

Hundreds of athletes descend on Kamloops for B.C. Winter Games

Kamloops — also known as the Tournament Capital of Canada — is set to host hundreds of athletes from across the province for the 40th B.C. Winter Games, which kick off Thursday night.

Approximately 1,300 athletes will be participating in 21 events in several venues across the city.

"They've got a chance to impress their coaches and their peers," said Kelly Mann, president and CEO of the B.C. Games.

"What we have is the best ... and those best kids will ultimately one day be on podiums."

About 1,600 volunteers are preparing food, managing scheduling, and organizing transportation for the nearly 1,800 athletes, coaches and officials that have descended on Kamloops for the weekend.

"Getting new people involved, getting them to understand that building community is very important to your every day, I think that's one of the things that I'm very proud of that the games bring to a city," Mann told CBC's Doug Herbert.

Volunteers have worked tirelessly for months to be able to host the games.

Preparing for high-level competitions

The B.C. Games prepare young athletes for higher-level sporting events, Mann said. 

"What we're seeing now is the next generation of Olympians, national team members," he said.

Larkyn Austman, who skated at the Pyeongchang Olympic Games earlier this week, participated in the B.C. Winter Games in Terrace in 2010. Mann said Austman is mentoring a young skater who will be at the games this weekend.

The pre-show for the opening ceremonies begins tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Sandman Centre. Local musician Madison Olds will sing the song she wrote, Moments in the Mountains, in honour of the games.

All B.C. Winter Games events are free for the public to attend.

With files from Jenifer Norwell and Daybreak Kamloops

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