The 43rd Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships, hosted by Cape Breton University and the Legion’s Breton Branch, took place from August 9 to 11 in Sydney, Nova Scotia. It was an exciting three days with new Legion National Records and endless fun for the athletes. Over 700 athletes from across the country competed this weekend.
Our hosts went above and beyond for our athletes, coaches and chaperones. Besides the Legion Nationals meet, there was plenty of fun to be had around the campus. Athletes, coaches and parents could enjoy live music, games, movies and use the facilities for recreational sports. There was also an Amazing Race and an epic paint battle organized for the athletes!
Here are a few of the highlights from this past week:
2019 Legion Nationals Remembrance Theme
This year’s Legion Nationals theme was in honour of the 75th anniversary of D-Day. June 6, 1944 marked the beginning of the operation that saw Canadian, British and American Allied troops storm the beaches on the coast of France’s Normandy region. This invasion was the largest amphibious military assault in history. Our medals this year paid honour to those who served and sacrificed.
“During this year’s games, we will remember the ultimate sacrifices made on D-Day,” says Thomas D. Irvine, Dominion President. “These games reflect the freedom and opportunities granted to us all by the veterans who came before us, and who continue to serve us today.”
we do every year, the traditional Opening Ceremony started with the march
on of the athletes lead by Dave Piercy, sergeant-at-arms and the colour party.
We then performed the Opening Ritual for the meet, which included the playing
of the last post, two minutes of silence, the playing of the lament, the rouse,
and the recital of the Act of Remembrance. Dominion President Thomas Irvine
concluded that part of the ceremony with the placing of a wreath.
we were in Nova Scotia (Gaelic for New Scotland) it was only right that we
heard some Celtic music. We were lucky to have Helen MacDonald, Scott MacKenzie
and Susan MacLean perform some traditional fiddle tuned from Cape Breton!
Record Breakers and Game Highlights
New records were set during the 2019 Legion Nationals!
Day 1, Friday August 9, 2019:
Sonya Urbanowicz from BC/Yukon broke a Legion Nationals record in the U16 Women Pole Vault with a jump of 3.30m breaking the last record of 3.20m.
Riley Flemington from Ontario broke a Legion Nationals record in the U16 Men 1200 Meter Run with a time of 3:07.27, breaking the last record of 3:07.43.
Tekoa Kornelsen from Alberta/Northwest Territories broke a Legion Nationals record in the U16 Men Pole Vault. He threw 3.82m, breaking the last record of 3.81m.
Day 2, Saturday August 10, 2019:
Quinn Cameron is the new Legion Nationals record holder in the U18 Men's Decathlon with a score of 6195, beating the 6035 record.
Alexandria Webb is the new Legion Nationals record holder in the U18 Women's Javelin. She threw 49.88m, beating the 49.77m record.
Day 3, Sunday August 11, 2019:
Kian Zabihi is the new Legion National record holder in the Men's U16 Hammer Throw. He threw 67.21m.
Ryan Jacklin is the new Legion National record holder and holds a new NATIONAL record in the Men's U18 Hammer Throw. He threw 69.74m.
Olivia Lundman is the new Legion National record holder in the Women's U18 3000 Meter Race Walk with a time of 14:59.08.
We caught some amazing highlights on camera too, here are a few. Stay tuned for the entire album which will be posted on our Flickr page!
Chaos in the Courtyard and Epic Paint Battle
The athletes, coaches, officials and guests were invited to participate in Chaos in the Courtyard! The athletes had a lot of energy to release after the Championships and let loose with “Silly Olympics,” relay races, tug of war, gymnastics and an epic paint battle, all set to heart pumping tunes spun by DJ Tom Flemming.
Culture Day at the Fortress of Louisbourg
Photo courtesy of Parks Canada.
Legion Provincial Command Athletes stepped back in time to French colonial life between 1713 and 1758 at the Fortress of Louisbourg. This Fortress was first the home to the Mi’kmaw people and in the 18th century they were joined by the French, alongside Basque, German, English, Irish, Scottish, and African people.
We witnessed reenactments of a blacksmith at work, soldiers on guard, locals playing music in the tavern, tasted fresh-baked soldier’s bread and visited the heritage gardens.
Two lucky athletes even got to fire the ground-shaking canon at the top of the fortress!
Daxx Turner from Manitoba/North Western Ontario Command and Savannah Sutherland from Saskatchewan Command waiting to fire the cannons at the Fortress of Louisbourg. Photo courtesy of Parks Canada.
Closing Ceremonies and Top Athletes
Our athletes dressed up and attended the Closing Banquet and Ceremonies that officially closed the 43rd Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships. Top athletes from each Provincial Command were announced and the two top Legion provincial athletes from the entire championships were awarded.
The Jack Stenhouse Award for the top male athlete went to Ryan Jacklin from Ontario Command.
The LeRoy Washburn Award for the top female athlete went to Jaeland Cummings from BC/Yukon Command.
The President’s Award, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional dedication, support and service to the Legion Nationals program, went to Helen and John Ladouceur.
Kelly Smith, Program Co-ordinator from Programmed Insurance Brokers Inc. and Legion Dominion President Thomas Irvine present the President's Award to John and Helen Ladouceur.
At the closing banquet, athlete representatives from Team Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command took the stage to speak about their week with us.
Mikayla Boucher spoke about the importance of Remembrance at these games. "The mission of the Royal Canadian Legion is to support Veterans, promote Remembrance and strengthen communities. We wear our poppies tonight to acknowledge the importance of remembrance," said Boucher. "Countless Canadian lives have been dedicated to serving our nation, and it is crucial that we always remember and honour the Fallen. We are asking each athlete to show their respect by visiting their local Legion to share their experiences at Legion Nationals and sincerely thank them for this amazing opportunity and their dedication to our country."
Overall our week at Cape Breton University and in Sydney Nova Scotia was incredible. Most importantly, the athletes had a great time!
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More information about the 43rd Championships:
The Legion’s Dominion Command sponsors hundreds of athletes each year, with the support of branches and provincial/territorial commands from across the country. Several hundred other youth joined as open athletes. All Legion Commands were represented this year by 314 competitors; and there were 407 Open athletes.
Many Legion Nationals alumni have gone on to compete at the international level including as part of the Commonwealth, Pan Am and Olympic games.