Maddox Johnson of Fernie took Gold in the U15 duathlon at the 2022 BC Summer Games. (Photo from BC Games Flickr)

Fernie local takes Gold in 2022 BC Summer Games

About 32 athletes and coaches from the Elk Valley participated in the return of the BC Summer Games

The 2022 BC Summer Games took place in Prince George last weekend and a Fernie local took home three medals.

Maddox Johnson of Fernie was one of 32 Elk Valley athletes and coaches who attended the games, which ran from July 21 to 24.

Competing in the U15 category triathlons for Zone 1 (roughly the Kootenays), Johnson took home Gold in a duathlon, Silver in a spring triathlon, and Silver in an F1 triathlon challenge. He also came fourth in an aquathlon.

Johnson said it was really cool to be able to represent the region, adding that Zone 1 didn’t have many triathletes. He said he was told by this year’s Zone 1 coach Kris Hildebrand that he got the first three medals Zone 1 has ever earned in triathlons.

“It was amazing to just go experience everything the games have to offer,” Johnson said.

He said it was an amazing social event and that he got to meet many other like-minded athletes who were there to race and have fun.

“It was a really interesting environment. I’ve never experienced something like that.”

According to an article on the BC Games Society website, just under 3000 of BC’s top young athletes, coaches, and officials attended the games.

From the Elk Valley, 21 participants attended from Fernie, four from Elkford, four from Jaffray and three from Sparwood.

Locals Jared Musschoot and Kevin Fraser coached the Kootenay boys basketball team that competed in the games.

According to a comment from the coaches, the pair held tryouts across the region and have been working with the team since April to develop their skill-set, while providing them with various competitions across B.C. and Alberta.

“Installing a love for the game, improving fundamentals, promoting sportsmanship and teamwork was just part of the mission,” the comment reads.

The Kootenay basketballers lost two close games, one 65-60 to Zone 6 Vancouver-Coastal, and one 50-46 to Zone 8 Cariboo-North East. They won in overtime 78-72 against Zone 3 Fraser Valley.

Musschoot and Fraser “are proud of the team for their grind against some tough teams.”

According to the games’ website, there were over 2200 athletes participating who averaged 14 years old, and who gained entry to the games via qualification events around the province.

The games were supported with $625,000 in base funding from the province, and by resources and support from the City of Prince George, Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, School District No. 57, Global BC, Black Press Media, and Prince George businesses.

The event was expected to generate $2 million for the local economy.

Johnson said that looking forward, he will be trying to branch out to look for new opportunities and experience what the world of sports has to offer.

“It was a really cool event, and I’m really grateful to have had this experience,” he said.

“I wish to be able to continue to train and race with all these really cool people.”

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