Podium finishes for Yukoners at Special Olympics World Winter Games

All three Yukon athletes competing in an international competition will be coming home with some new hardware in their luggage. 

Ernest Chua, Tijana McCarthy and Mike Sumner had podium finishes at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria this week. Thursday's big excitement was a win for Chua, 26, in the 500-metre cross-country freestyle ski race.

"It's amazing and unbelievable to have that gold," said Shirley Chua-Tan, Ernest's mother. 

She followed her son's progress on social media from Whitehorse. She said the family wasn't necessarily expecting him to win. 

"A medal would be nice but a gold is just a bonus," she said. "It really boosts up his self esteem and makes him feel proud." 

Chua-Tan said Ernest beat his personal best in all three of his ski events.

Silver finishes

While Chua had the only first place finish among his teammates, McCarthy and Sumner both picked up medals in their figure skating events. 

Sumner, 20, Yukon's only veteran of the world games, successfully defended the silver medal he won in South Korea in 2013. McCarthy, 19, who earlier told CBC her main goal at the event was to meet new friends, also won silver.  

Earlier in the week, Chua won silver in the cross-country ski relay event.

The trio is part of a Canadian delegation of 150 athletes and coaches at the event. Altogether, more than 3,000 athletes came together from 110 countries. 

The closing ceremony takes place tomorrow evening.