Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Excitement Builds as Athletes Arrive in Sherbrooke for Canada Summer Games

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Excitement Builds as Athletes Arrive in Sherbrooke for Canada Summer Games

Article excerpt

Excitement builds at Canada Summer Games

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LENNOXVILLE, Que. - Each bus that rolled on to Bishop's University's campus brought another wave of cheers.

A group of face-painted volunteers -- dubbed the Fan Club -- waved signs, shouted and clapped as every bus, van and car filled with athletes turned on to the bucolic campus' main road for the first day of the Canada Summer Games.

"I'm so excited, this is going to be a great experience," said 16-year-old Ashley Nicole Kambeitz on Thursday, shortly after stepping off Team Saskatchewan's bus.

"I've never been to the Canada Summer Games, but I've been to the Western Canada Games," added the soccer goalkeeper from Saskatoon.

Kambeitz is far from alone.

There are 4,200 athletes from across Canada competing in 20 different sports over 16 days at the 2013 Games, scattered across 20 venues in Sherbrooke, Que., and its surrounding area.

"This is my third Canada Games, actually. I went to the one in '05 in Regina and '09 in Prince Edward Island," said para-athlete Cam MacDonald, a multi-discipline swimmer from Winnipeg. "It's always a fun experience and it's always a unique experience."

Bishop's and the Universite de Sherbrooke are hosting most of the events, with nearby lakes, parks, stadiums and facilities providing the other venues.

"This is the centre of the Games, it's the Games village," said Michel Dussureault, deputy CEO of planning for the Games, of Bishop's campus. "This is where the athletes' accommodations are, where there's food, socializing, games for them. It is also a workplace for the members of the missions and also our own organization.

"So this is really a little city built around supporting the athletes so they can go from here and get to their competitions."

The Universite de Sherbrooke's football stadium will host the opening ceremonies that -- much like the fanfare before the Olympics -- will feature dignitaries, flag bearers and musical performances.

The athletes, however, are just excited to compete.

"Yeah, pretty, I don't know," said Kambeitz, when asked if she was looking forward to the opening ceremonies. "I'm more excited to actually get seeing everything and playing the actual games. It'll be fun."

Quebec takes particular pride in hosting the Canada Summer Games and hopes to win the most medals.

Ontario led the way at the 2009 Games in P.E.I., winning a total of 202 medals. British Columbia finished with 144, while Quebec had 145. …

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