BC Winter Games for high-level youth athletes cancelled due to pandemic, natural disasters

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A perfect storm that includes the pandemic and multiple natural disasters has led organizers to cancel the youth BC Winter Games.

The games, which were set to take place in Vernon, are normally held every two years and provide a platform for young, promising, high-performance athletes and their coaches to compete, connect and build community.

“With so many challenges across the province this year, it has become clear that the 2022 BC Winter Games cannot happen this February,” said Val Trevis, president of Greater Vernon 2022 BC Winter Games Society in a statement.

“Our volunteer board of directors and chairs have worked relentlessly…and we are very disappointed for the athletes and volunteers.”

According to a statement from the games society, the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with the havoc wreaked by the summer’s wildfires and the winter floods “have made it impossible to stage a safe and memorable Games this winter.”

Melanie Mark, minister of tourism, arts, culture and sport said in a statement that she knows how difficult this news will be for the athletes.

“I recognize how devastating this news is for the athletes, coaches, volunteers, and host region of Greater Vernon who have been working tirelessly to prepare…these are not easy decisions to make.”

As recently as Dec. 20, prior to the cancellation, the society had been advertising online that it was looking for volunteers to work at the games.

Prince George is slated to host the 2022 BC Summer Games while the 2024 BC Winter Games are set to happen in Quesnel. Additional information about a future version of the 2022 BC Winter Games will be shared when available, says the society.

According to its website, the games “bring together British Columbia’s best emerging high performance athletes, trained coaches, and certified officials for four days of competition. This experience is an important development opportunity and stepping stone towards higher level sport competitions.”