CANMORE – Canmore figure skating star Meg Ohsada was already having a big year in the sport when things got a lot better.
Ohsada was awarded the 2020 Jamie Salé Special Olympics Skater Achievement Award by Skate Canada: Alberta-NWT/Nunavut, honouring her dedication and passion for a year worthy of the record books.
“Meg is extremely proud and honoured to be the first recipient of the award," said Noriko Ohsada, Meg’s mother. "It was made possible thanks to a nominee who believed in Meg's hard work and community impact.
“Meg is sad as she missed the award banquet due to COVID-19 restrictions, but dressed up with the trophy for her Instagram/Facebook photo.”
The award is a tribute to Olympic and world champion Salé, whose passion and dedication to the Special Olympics has helped shape its movement over the years.
In a video message, Salé congratulated Ohsada on receiving the award.
"So proud of you. You know I am one of your biggest fans. You have worked really, really hard for this and it's very well deserved, so good job."
Athletes are nominated by their home clubs for the award, who send an application to a selection committee, which chooses the winning candidate.
“Meg’s application really spoke for itself. She had an outstanding year, last year,” said Kelly Havixbeck, member services manager at Skate Canada: Alberta-NWT/Nunavut.
“Meg’s always been an outstanding ambassador, I would almost have to say, for Special Olympics, and she’s been involved with Skate Canada for a number of years, so it was really nice to recognize her again.”
In February in Thunder Bay, Ont., Ohsada won gold and fourth place at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in level 3 competition. It was the third straight golden performance for the Canmore Skating Club athlete at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games dating back to 2012.
Last year, Ohsada made her television commercial debut in a Powerade sports drink photo-shoot/commercial for the national Special Olympics. She was also a featured skater in Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir's final cross-country tour, Rock The Rink, last October. The iconic Canadian duo are Ohsada's heroes, which made it much more memorable.
Moment No. 5️⃣: Two @SpecialOCanada athletes officially becoming @PoweradeCA athletes.— Special Olympics CAN (@SpecialOCanada) December 29, 2019
In honour of Special Olympics 50th anniversary, Powerade recruited two amazing athletes – @SOOntario's Peter Snider and @SpecialOAlberta's Meg Ohsada. pic.twitter.com/hvzMkn0A8s