Campbell River’s Jesse Shade, captured five gold medals in the pool for Team BC and will carry the flag during the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games closing ceremony at 5 p.m. on Today.
“Jesse was selected based on his performance and team leadership here in Fort McMurray,” says Diane St-Denis, Team BC Chef de Mission. “We are very proud of his accomplishments and are confident Jesse will be an excellent representative for the Province of British Columbia and the entire team.
When asked the importance of being flag bearer, sixteen year old Shade replied “you carry the Team’s spirit on your shoulders when you carry the flag. It is a pretty cool honour. I’m speechless.”
Competing against swimmers eight to ten years his senior, Shade demonstrated tremendous power in the pool in Wood Buffalo. Shade is a Special Olympics athlete, however his times are comparable to ‘able bodied’ athletes, and is among the fastest swimmers on Team BC.
“Jesse is a very strong swimmer and a natural leader in and out of the pool,” says Shade’s coach Brianna Kowalski. “He has the qualities in an athlete I can’t teach, dedication and commitment…and he has a great attitude.”
Shade collected gold medals in the 50m backstroke, 50m freestyle and 50m breaststroke, 100m freestyle, and 100m backstroke. Each medal also came with a personal best performance.
“Swim BC is very proud to have Jesse represent all of Team BC at the closing ceremony as flag bearer for our province,” shared swimming head coach Mike Flegel. “Jesse’s performance and leadership with his team during the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games should serve as an inspiration to all.”
Shade is no stranger to multi-sport competition. In the last year, he has competed in the North American Indigenous Games in Regina and the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Vancouver.
Shade is looking forward to celebrating his success with his team mates at the closing ceremonies on Sunday evening.
“I am excited to see the show,” said Shade.