Canada’s Skeleton Athletes Parade into New Season by Celebrating Halloween with Calgary Elementary School
October 31, 2012
—High-powered squad encourages students to “Protect your Skeleton”—
CALGARY—Canada’s new crop of World Cup skeleton athletes delivered a powerful message to the children at Dr. E.W. Coffin School in Calgary while joining in the students’ Halloween celebrations on Wednesday.
Dressed in their own unique Halloween get-ups, the six athletes officially named to Canada’s 2012-13 World Cup Skeleton Team by Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton led one classroom each in a parade of costumes through the school.
The Halloween march full of superheroes, cartoon characters and monsters ended in
the gymnasium where head coach and Olympic gold medallist, Duff Gibson, took the
celebration to a new level by officially introducing the new Canadian Skeleton Team.
Once introduced, the athletes put on an interactive sport demonstration and delivered
a positive Halloween message, encouraging the students to “protect your skeleton.”
“Our sport got its name years ago because of our sleds’ bare bone resemblance to skeletons,” said Olympic bronze medallist, Mellisa Hollingsworth. “Every single person in this world has a skeleton made up of many bones which need to be taken care of. I think this is a unique way to leverage our sport on Halloween, along with our position as role models, to encourage kids to take care of their skeletons by living healthy and active lives.”
Hollingsworth and fellow Olympic medallist, Jon Montgomery, provided tips for the students to take care of their bones. With concussions part of regular conversations in sport and life these days, Montgomery preached the importance of protecting your skull bones by wearing helmets and the proper equipment when playing sports, riding a bike or using a skateboard. Hollingsworth encouraged the athletes to strengthen their skeleton bones by drinking milk and eating proper dairy products, while Kelly Forbes, the Canadian Skeleton Team’s strength trainer, stressed the importance of being active in order to keep those bones strong. Forbes and the World Cup athletes wrapped up the celebration by putting the gym full of ghosts, goblins and pumpkins through a short exercise together.
In addition to speaking to the students, the high-powered Canadian Team also sent a clear message they will be looking to put a scare in the world’s best skeleton athletes when it comes to competing for the World Cup podium this year.
Hollingsworth, 32, who has won nearly everything on the table in the sport, will lead a trio of talented women. The Eckville, Alta. native will be joined by Calgary’s 25-year-old Sarah Reid who is poised to take her first step onto the World Cup podium. Reid became the first Canadian to win the World Junior Championships four years ago. Cassie Hawrysh, of Brandon, Man., rounds out the women’s team. The 28-year-old rookie on the World Cup has taken the skeleton world by storm in Canada. Since joining the national program last year, Hawrysh dominated the America’s Cup circuit before sliding onto the podium at the Europa Cup level to end her season. Demonstrating tremendous athletic potential, Hawrysh will take a giant leap in her development while competing with the world’s elite sliders this year.
Meanwhile, Olympic gold medallist Jon Montgomery will make his return to the World Cup after taking last year off to test equipment in preparation for successfully defending the top spot on the podium in Sochi 2014. The Russell, Man. native will be joined by two rising stars in the sport – Eric Neilson, of Kelowna, B.C., and Calgary’s John Fairbairn. Neilson, who has back-to-back Canadian Championship titles had two top-10 finishes during his rookie season last year on the World Cup. Fairbairn has been on a steady progression since joining the World Cup circuit two years ago.
“This is a unique group of athletes that has been making significant progress, and continues to push harder each day in an effort to keep the maple leaf on the Olympic, World Championship and World Cup podiums in skeleton,” said Duff Gibson, head coach, Canadian Skeleton Team. “Having Mellisa and Jon continue to steer the ship benefits our young team members who bring tremendous athletic potential to our program.”
The World Cup circuit opens in Lake Placid, N.Y., November 5-10, 2012. Canada will host a World Cup stop at the Whistler Sliding Centre, November 19-25.
Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton is a non-profit organization and the national governing body for the sports of bobsleigh and skeleton in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Dow Chemical, Adidas, KBC Helmets, Eurotech – Viking Engineering, SAIT Polytechnic, Conceptum Sport Logistics, Therapeutica – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, Bobsleigh CANADA Skeleton develops Olympic and world champions. Please visit us at www.bobsleighcanadaskeleton.ca.