Summerland’s Heming Sola stands at the top of the podium after winning gold in the alpine skiiing slalom event at the Canada Winter Games. (Submitted photo)

Summerland’s Heming Sola stands at the top of the podium after winning gold in the alpine skiiing slalom event at the Canada Winter Games. (Submitted photo)

South Okanagan athletes bring home medals from Canada Winter Games

Athletes set a new record for Team BC in gold medals at the Canada Winter Games

South Okanagan athletes helped Team BC have their best ever gold-medal performance at the Canada Winter Games, held in Red Deer, Alta from Feb. 15 to March 3.

In total, athletes won 87 medals, including 30 gold medals. Though British Columbia has just 13 per cent of the population in Canada, Team BC won 17 per cent of the medals at the Games.

Penticton’s Brayden Kuroda contributed two gold medals to that total, standing atop the podium in the freestyle skiing disciplines of aerials and moguls.

Related: Double gold on the slopes for Penticton skier

Summerland’s Heming Sola won gold with the alpine team in the men’s slalom race, leaving it all out on the course.

Sola was sitting in fifth place after the first run but managed to push it on the second run and bring himself back up to first place.

“My first run was good, I just wanted to finish my first run. After that, I was happy to just go for it on my second run and I really flew. Happy to get the gold,” said Sola.

Related: Penticton hockey players chosen to Team BC for the Canada Winter Games

Sola also reflected on his experience at these games post-race.

“Experience here has been awesome. All the volunteers, I would like to thank them. The weather has been perfect. It has been an awesome event.”

Sola also raced to a bronze medal in the men’s alpine ski cross event.

Sola took the top spot in his heat during the round of 64 skiiers. He then finished first in the 32-participant heat and the quarterfinals. During the semifinals, he crossed the finish line in second place, pushing him to the big finals (medal) event.

Team BC’s women’s hockey team battled in a tense game against Ontario to win the bronze medal 5-4 at the Canada Winter Games.

It’s the first medal for the women’s Team BC program at the Games since they won a silver medal in 1991. BC lost their chance for a gold medal after a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime loss to Alberta the day before in the semifinals —a team that they defeated in the preliminary pool play 6-1.

Okanagan Hockey Academy players Anna MacCara (Penticton), Reece Hunt (Nelson) and Sarah Paul (West Kelowna) all suited up for Team BC. MacCara had one goal over the tournament, Hunt had two assists and Paul had three goals and one assist over the duration of the Games.

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Okanagan Hockey Academy players Reece Hunt (Nelson) and Anna MacCara (Penticton) celebrate after helping Team BC win the bronze medal at the Canada Winter Games on March 2. (Kevin Bogetti-Smith/Team BC)

Okanagan Hockey Academy players Reece Hunt (Nelson) and Anna MacCara (Penticton) celebrate after helping Team BC win the bronze medal at the Canada Winter Games on March 2. (Kevin Bogetti-Smith/Team BC)

Okanagan Hockey Academy player Sarah Paul (West Kelowna) keeps the puck away from Team Ontario players during the Canada Winter Games bronze medal game. Team BC won the game 5-4. (Kevin Bogetti-Smith/Team BC)

Okanagan Hockey Academy player Sarah Paul (West Kelowna) keeps the puck away from Team Ontario players during the Canada Winter Games bronze medal game. Team BC won the game 5-4. (Kevin Bogetti-Smith/Team BC)