“The Territory exploded onto the scene in 2004…”When the Canada Senior Games (CSG) were inaugurated on a small scale in Regina in 1996, the Yukon Territory was nowhere to be found because “Yukoners hadn’t heard about these Games yet,” according to the official history of the event.
However, that changed for the second go-round in 1998 at Medicine Hat, AB, where we sent 38 competitors who won 27 medals including the first Spirit of the Games (SOG) award.There were no Games in 2000, but 35 intrepid Yukoners travelled to Summerside, PEI, in 2002 and came home with 24 medals and an invitation to host the 2004 Games in Whitehorse, a decision which proved serendipitous for the future of the CSG.
The Territory exploded onto the scene in 2004 with over 100 competitors in the home Games and a whopping 500 local volunteers to pull them off. It marked the end of CSG and the beginning of Canada 55+ Games.
At Portage la Prairie in 2006, 83 Yukoners won 35 medals and a second SOG award; and at Dieppe, NB, in 2008, 82 won 45 medals including nine gold and yet another SOG, the third in just five appearances as the Yukon lived up to our reputation for being spirited and lively competitors, which included introducing cheerleaders to the Games.
In 2010 at Brockville, ON, a new Yukon record for Biggest Road Squad was set as 104 participants and nine cheerleaders won 70 medals, a short-lived medal record as 77 competitors in 2012 at Sydney, NS, won 79, the only time Yukon averaged over a medal per person and placed fourth in the national standings–also a record.In 2014 at Strathcona County, AB (Edmonton), another record was set for largest road contingent as 129 participants, 15 cheerleaders and three mission staff accounted for 68.5 medals (with no explanation of how somebody won half a medal) and a fourth SOG award.
At the 2016’s in Brampton, ON, 96 athletes won 65 medals but 28 of them were gold, a new record, as the Yukon finally lived up to the reputation of our golden heritage of 1898.
At the time of our print deadline for this edition, the 2018 Canada 55+ Games team was shaping up as 143 athletes competing from five Yukon communities, but that can change quicker than the magnificent 51′ tides ripping up the Bay of Fundy.
But one record is certain not to be broken: Longest Road Trip. Saint John is only 6490 kms from Whitehorse, which sounds like an impossibly long way; but Dieppe is 6560, Summerside 6690 and Sydney 7020, a record that may last forever unless Come By Chance (7960) in Newfoundland is awarded some 55+ Games in the distant future.
Come back by chance in autumn for full results.
Ed. Note: Regular 55+ participant and What’s Up Yukon contributor Allan Benjamin is not attending the Games this year. Instead, he was the only athlete from the Yukon participating in the first ever Masters Indigenous Games in Toronto in July. He did the Yukon proud, winning a haul of six gold medals and three silver medals at various track events.
CSG & Canada 55+ Venues
1996 – Regina, SK
1998 – Medicine Hat, AB
2002 – Summerside, PEI
2004 – Whitehorse, YT
2006 – Portage la Prairie, MAN
2008 – Dieppe, NB
2010 – Brockville, ON
2012 – Sydney, NS
2014 – Strathcona County, AB
2016 – Brampton, ON
2018 – Saint John, NB (August 21-24)
55+ Games Yukon contingent by the numbers:
143 (58 and 85) – Number athletes (men and women)
23 – Number of supporters5 – Number of Yukon communities represented
68 – Average age of athletes
11 – Number of Yukon athletes over 80
93 – Age of oldest Yukon athlete