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Local athletes set to shine at Special Olympics Canada Winter Games

Evan Pittam, Stephen Graham, Dennis Chamberlain and Lynda Larkin will represent Orillia; 'I love going to tournaments in any sport,' says five-pin bowler
Four Orillia athletes are heading to Thunder Bay at the end of this month to represent the Sunshine City at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.

The four will be participating in bowling and speed skating at the games, which run from Feb. 25 to 29.

“I love going to tournaments in any sport,” said Evan Pittam, who will be competing in five-pin bowling with Dennis Chamberlain and Lynda Larkin. “I love being part of teams and going into competitions with my teammates.”

Pittam said he loves going to tournaments because fun seeing friends from other cities that he and his fellow athletes get to know over the years.

“Our team is there to do our best and try to win; you always support other teams and congratulate other players on good shots and good games,” he said. “I’m a competitive person and always want to win, but I try to always show good sportsmanship no matter if we win or lose.”

Pittam has been involved with Special Olympics Orillia for 15 years now, playing soccer, baseball, basketball, floor hockey, golf, curling, and bowling.

Evan has won two bronze medals for bowling in provincial games held in Guelph. He won two gold medals at provincials and a bronze in P.E.I., where he competed in nationals.

All athletes appreciate the great community support they receive from Orillia and its residents.

“It’s an honour to represent the city that I have resided in for over 20 years,” said Stephen Graham. “The community support has been so important. Everyone has always encouraged me and supported me in all my years of competing.”

He’s been with Special Olympics Orillia for 22 years now and has a wall full of medals he’s won from shining at competitions around Canada and the world.

Graham has previously been to three Special Olympics Winter World Games as a speed skater, winning five gold, one silver, and one bronze medal. At the nationals level, he has competed in four competitions and has won 11 gold, two silver, and one bronze medal. Graham also curls and plays baseball.

Chamberlain has been with Special Olympics Orillia for 21 years and plays baseball, curling, golf, basketball, floor hockey, and bowling. He’s got a laser sharp aim and will seek to destroy five pins anytime he sees them standing in a row.

Over the last two decades as an Olympic athlete, the Orillia resident has won 15 gold, 12 silver, and eight bronze medals.

Also competing in five-pin bowling is Lynda Larkin, who joined Special Olympics Orillia about 15 years ago, and enjoys baseball, bowling, and swimming. Born in Haileybury and raised in Barrie, Larkin now lives in Orillia and dedicates herself to excelling at five-pin bowling.

She says she’s won so many medals for bowling, she’s lost track, but after counting, she says she has seven gold, nine silver, and five bronze medals.

“I love all my friends, teammates and coaches of all the teams I’m on in Orillia,” said Pittam. “I feel like this is the best city to represent. Everyone in the city gives us so much support. I feel proud to represent Orillia with my teammates and to do our best. I love it here. I’ll always live here and represent Orillia as best as I can.”

For partnerships and general donations to support Special Olympics Orillia athletes, contact Cathy O’Connor, community coordinator, at [email protected] or at 705-238-7277.

“Businesses will receive tax receipts for any donations they make to the organization,” she said. “And they will get the opportunity to put a priceless smile on the faces of our athletes.”

Special Olympics Orillia is a registered charity run by community volunteers with 36 volunteers/coaches, more than100 athletes ranging in age from eight years old to 80, training and participating in 17 core sports. Every facet of our community is dedicated to enriching the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.


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