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REFLECTIONS: National Games offered life-changing experience for Shelburne County Special Olympians

Shelburne County Special Olympics athletes Daniel Hopkins, left, and Ashley Rennehan wore their medals from the National Games as they walked with Queens Shelburne MLA Kim Masland in the Shelburne County Exhibition parade.
Shelburne County Special Olympics athletes Daniel Hopkins, left, and Ashley Rennehan wore their medals from the National Games as they walked with Queens Shelburne MLA Kim Masland in the Shelburne County Exhibition parade. - Kathy Johnson

SHELBURNE COUNTY, N.S. – For Shelburne County athletes Ashley Rennehan and Daniel Hopkins, competing in the recent 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games that were held in Antigonish on July 31 to Aug. 4 is an experience they won’t soon forget.

“We’re pretty proud of our accomplishments,” said Hopkins in an interview, noting Team Nova Scotia came home with more than 134 medals. “It was spectacular. Probably the most fun time I’ve ever had. It was absolutely amazing.”

Hopkins said Team Nova Scotia “were basically all one big family. The bond that we all formed amongst the team members is a bond that will never be broken. It was so amazing; just that part alone was amazing and then the competition, cheering on not only our own teammates but the other provinces and teams too. I can’t even explain the feeling. It was just an amazing experience.”

Hopkins brought home two medals – silver in the 200m and gold in 4x100 relay – and beat all his previous personal bests.

Rennehan also set some personal bests in shotput, breaking the 10m mark in preliminary competition (10.68m) and the medal round (10.23m) where he won silver.

“It really was a life changing experience going to nationals,” said Rennehan. “Thank you to people who supported me and helped me with the journey.”

Both Rennehan and Hopkins are now looking forward to the Winter Games but at this point are not sure what they are going to be competing in. “We’re taking it as we go,” said Hopkins.” As it gets closer to that time we’ll probably decide.”

The Winter Games will be a first for Hopkins. Rennehan has competed in floor hockey in the past, playing both defence and offence.

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