Countdown to 2023 games begins as Team P.E.I. returns from Canada Summer Games

The 2022 Canada Summer Games have wrapped up, and Team P.E.I. is taking the competition home with them.

The Games’ closing ceremony was presented on Sunday night following two weeks of competition in the Niagara region of Ontario. 

The ceremony, held at a park overlooking the world-famous Niagara Falls, ended with a fireworks show as the Canada Games flag was handed over to the future hosts, Team P.E.I.

The province will host the 2023 Winter Games in just six months’ time, since these summer games were delayed a year due to COVID-19.

“It was absolutely phenomenal,” said Ria Johnston, the 17-year-old athlete who was P.E.I.’s flag-bearer in the closing ceremonies. “Just the whole atmosphere and just being able to compete against so many amazing athletes — and compete with so many amazing athletes as well — was a real great honour for sure.”

On Monday, the games’ flag set sail aboard HMCS Oriole to mark the start of the countdown to the Winter Games. (Submitted by 2023 Canada Winter Games committee)

Johnston competed in both weeks of athletics, in two different sports: rugby sevens and soccer. She said the goal for her in these games was to help the P.E.I. women’s soccer team achieve its highest placing ever.

And it did, finishing 7th.

“We had a goal of making history and we made that happen,” she said.

Johnston and other members of P.E.I.’s team arrived back in Charlottetown Monday afternoon, touching down at the airport.

The podium for wrestling at Canada Games 2022.
Vanessa Keefe, centre, seen on the podium. (P.E.I. Canada Games team/Twitter)

2 medals, many personal bests

A total of 360 athletes were part of the P.E.I. delegation for the summer games, the province’s largest contingent ever.

Prince Edward Island took home two medals, both in wrestling. Vanessa Keefe of Oyster Bed Bridge earned a gold and R.J. Hetherington of Stratford took a bronze in the individual competitions.

“Many of our coaches are very pleased with the performance of their athletes,” said François Caron, assistant chef de mission for Team P.E.I. “[They got] personal bests, which for them is kind of a great victory. That means that they’re doing their best on the biggest stage, which is all you can ask.”

On Monday, the flag symbolizing the Canada Games set sail aboard HMCS Oriole to mark the start of the countdown to the Winter Games.

That 20-sport event will begin on Feb. 18, 2023, with an opening ceremony at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown.

Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games: Closing Ceremony

Watch the closing ceremony at the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games from Niagara Falls, Ont.

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