Little champions light up the Kindergarten Winter Olympics

Mini-Olympians competed in the annual Olympic event for kids at Coquihalla Elementary School

Coquihalla Elementary's kindergarten students had their own version of the Winter Olympics last Friday as they completed relay races that simulated Olympics events: After receiving the signal

Coquihalla teachers Teresa Williams and Adrienne Robinson held their annual kindergarten Winter Olympics last Friday — without any snow or ice.

The event was started in 2010, when Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics. Kids marched into the gym, led by torch relay runners with their uniforms and (unlit) torches: Hans Jeschek, Kate Zabel and myself, followed by flag bearers. The mini-Olympians then lined up in teams for relay races that simulated real events, while parents and grandparents cheered them on.

As in past years, Williams prepared her students by showing them a video of actual races.

“The kids were so excited, the week before, counting ‘how many sleeps before Sports Day,” said Williams.

Well… most of the kids were excited. At least one of them was very worried.

“One girl didn’t want to go in the skeleton race,” said Williams, laughing. “She thought we would be doing the real thing — but I got a picture of her doing it and she was smiling.

The kindie version of the skeleton race was kids lying on their tummies on four-wheeled scooter boards, powering themselves down to the end wall and back. The ‘bobsled race’ used the same scooters but one child sat while the other pushed. At the end wall, they switched roles.

Other events included the biathlon, where students slid their feet on bean bags, simulating cross-country skiing, then ‘shot’ the bean bags at the end wall before running back. There was also a hockey relay and ice dance relay, including twirls and jumps with a partner.

No standings were taken and every child got a medal at the closing ceremony, followed by the singing of O Canada.

“You could see the smiles on the kids’ faces when the parents came over to sing the anthem,” said Williams. “They felt so successful. This was their first chance to do relays and they did so well.

“The support we get from the families is awesome,” she added. “They were so willing to help with the teams and cleaning up.”

Williams may drop by to watch the event next year — but she won’t be organizing it.

“I’m retiring, so I’ve given all the paper work to Adrienne,” said Williams. “I’ve taught since 1975 — some part-time for maternity — but I always taught, every year.” Williams started her career in Fort Nelson, followed by 41 years of service at Silver Creek and Coquihalla elementary schools.

“This is my forty-fifth year,” she said. “It’s been a great ride!”