Paul Oldridge is getting ready to compete in the upcoming snowshoe competition as part of 2019's Special Olympics Alberta Winter Games.
Kicking off this Friday evening (February 8), the winter games will bring over 700 athletes together from 64 communities across Alberta, N.W.T., and Saskatchewan to compete in the largest sports event for individuals with intellectual disabilities in the province.
Oldridge who is no stranger to competition, shares he will be snowshoeing in both the 100m race on Saturday and the 200m race on Sunday. While Mother Nature isn't being overly cooperative, Oldridge says that is okay. "It will be alright whatever it is; it would be nice if it was a little warmer weather but not too much."
Getting ready to compete in the games has kept Oldridge quite busy. "We have been training pretty much every Sunday doing timing, exercising and training in Calgary. There has been enough snow to snowshoe and only a couple of weekends where there wasn't enough snow but we still did the races without the snowshoes and just had our boots on."
While Oldridge would, of course, like to medal, the most important part of competing is to give it his best shot. "I hope to win, but if I don't, and I have done my best, that is all I can ask for."
Looking forward to Opening Ceremonies and the overall games experience, Oldridge is hoping people come on out to cheer the athletes on at Opening Ceremonies being held at Winsport on Friday night at 7 pm.
If he qualifies after this weekend's races, Oldridge will move onto Nationals being held in 2020.
The competition kicks off early Saturday morning with athletes altogether competing in seven winter sports including 5-pin bowling, alpine skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing, and speed skating before closing ceremonies take place in Edmonton, Sunday (February 10) afternoon.