Amy Nelson and Christy Alford say they are excited to make new friends when they represent Canada at next year’s Olympic Games in Berlin.
One of those new friends will be Stephanie Libby, who won an Olympic gold medal as the goalkeeper for the Canadian women’s national soccer team.
Libby, now the general manager of the Vancouver Whitecaps women’s team, was named an honorary coach for Special Olympics Canada on Thursday and will help coach and prepare athletes from 10 different sports for the Games. Because Alford and Nelson are members of Canada’s first women’s soccer team to compete at the Special Olympics World Games, they are both looking forward to seeing Libby.
“I think it’s amazing, meeting her and especially since she won with Team Canada,” said Nelson, a forward from British Columbia who hopes to learn from Libby. . “Some of my goals are to at least try and score a goal in football. Pass more, be more aggressive.”
Like Nelson, Alford is eager to be coached by Libby.
The Ontario-based striker competed in the sport at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Dubai and he feels that competing as part of the team will be a great new experience.
“I used to just compete by myself so now it’s really exciting to be on a team instead,” said Nelson, who said she enjoyed seeing all of her teammates at Zoom earlier this month. “I’m excited to try and win gold and be with everyone.”
Libby said she participated in Special Olympics Canada because she has a cousin who has an intellectual disability. She praised Alford and Nelson’s mindset for accommodating friendships and the experience of meeting new people before winning.
“That’s why I got into sports,” Libby said. “The way I first started doing all the different sports was the social aspect. I wanted to be around my friends, I wanted to meet new people.
“I enjoyed the support and camaraderie you have on the team, so I completely understand and I agree with that.”
The team’s head coach, Amanda Trichardt, said it was “amazing” to see women and girls achieve such a high platform at the Olympic Games.
“I’ve been coaching for a while now and I had a women’s team here in Alberta,” she said. “I’m always like, ‘Oh, I wish girls had a platform to perform.’
“So when it came up, I was just like, ‘Finally, this is great,’ because that’s what girls really need to show what they can do.”
In addition to the soccer team, Canada will also send a women’s basketball team to the Special Olympics World Games for the first time. Libby is eager to share her experiences as a two-time Olympic medalist who has earned 86 caps with Canada’s senior team in her career.
“I think what’s really exciting for me is that I can bring my experience playing soccer on the international stage and bring my experience and my joy to these athletes,” Libby said. to share.” “I’m really excited to cheer them on, to be their biggest supporter in Berlin and help them succeed in whatever way that looks like.”