The Canada Games are a national multi-sport competition with participation from every province and territory in Canada. The Games are held every two years, alternating between winter and summer. The 2019 Canada Winter Games will be held February 15 to March 3 in Red Deer, bringing together approximately 3600 athletes, coaches, and managers from every province and territory to compete in 19 sports.
Team BC is set to send a delegation of 349, athletes, coaches, managers and mission staff to represent the Province in Red Deer.
Of those members, only one calls Merritt, BC home. That would be gymnast Drew Kanigan.
“I’m really excited and really proud,” said Kanigan of the honour of representing Merritt and BC at the games.
At 16-years-old Kanigan is still relatively young in the world of men’s gymnastics, with most athletes peaking between 20 and 24.
Despite his age Kanigan has plenty of experience under his belt. Competing both across Canada and internationally, competing in the United States and even Berlin, Germany.
Even with all his experience Kanigan admitted he still gets nervous the night before a big competition.
“I used to get really nervous and not be able to sleep at night,” said Kanigan. “I'm going to be shaking.”
One of his best finishes came at the Canadian Championship in 2018, when he finished 2nd on the parallel bars.
“The parallel bars are probably my best event,” stated Kanigan. “I have the best results, it’s been pretty fun to train, hurts when you crash, but pretty fun.”
“High bar is probably my favourite to train, not my favourite to compete because it’s pretty risky” said Kanigan.
Kanigan admitted it was his mom who first put him into gymnastics back in pre-school, and it just happened to stick.
He hopes to take in some other events while at the games next week, especially free-style skiing and snowboarding.
For Kanigan, the Olympic dream is still real with his eyes set on the 2024 games. However, he would love the opportunity to head down to the States and compete in University at the NCAA level.
Team BC finished third behind Quebec (141 medals) and Ontario (111 medals) at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George with 88 medals - 21 gold, 34 silver, and 33 bronze.
Many high-level athletes have launched their athletic careers through the BC Games and Team BC. At the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games, 19 Team BC alumni were part of Team Canada. 2018 Olympic medallist in bobsleigh, Justin Kripps, is the Honourary Captain for Team BC for these Games and is an alumnus of the 2005 Canada Summer Games.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt