Photo: Special Olympics BC Hall of Fame
Kelowna athlete Kelsey Wyse has been inducted into the Special Olympics BC Hall of Fame.
Wyse has excelled in both summer and winter sports and has competed in many Special Olympics regional, provincial, national, and world games since she started in 2007.
She was inducted on Sept. 17 in a ceremony at the 2022 SOBC leadership summit.
“I feel so excited, thankful, surprised, and proud,” Wyse said at the Hall of Fame ceremony.
“Special Olympics is important to me because I learned to do so many sports that I never knew how to do. I never knew how to swim, or downhill ski, or cross country ski, or play bocce, or softball before I started in Special Olympics. I’ve lived a very healthy life that I’ve learned by being a Special Olympics athlete. I’ve been so lucky to have so many amazing coaches who have helped me to be a better athlete and person.”
Competing in alpine skiing in her first Special Olympics Canada Games in 2008, Wyse qualified to be a member of Team Canada for the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho. She accomplished great things on the slopes. This was her first, but not last, World Games appearance.
At the same time, Wyse also continued to shine in swimming. After years of diligent training, she delivered an unprecedented performance in the pool at the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Vancouver and was named to Team Canada for the 2015 Special Olympics International Summer Games in Los Angeles, California. There she reached the podium in multiple events and posted the fastest overall time of any female swimmer at those Games.
In 2018, Wyse decided to move away from alpine skiing and into cross country skiing. She applied her diligent training and outstanding athleticism to become a successful cross country ski racer who made it to the 2020 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games. There she earned a spot at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in her third sport.
Wyse was named to Special Olympics Team Canada in cross country skiing for the Special Olympics International Winter Games that were planned for Kazan, Russia. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those World Games had to be postponed until 2022, and then 2023. In 2022, after the members of Special Olympics Team Canada had put in 563 days of training, the Special Olympics International Winter Games in Kazan were cancelled due to political conflict. While this was very disappointing for all Team Canada members, Wyse used all that training to continue to improve her skills and strive for personal bests.
Wyse is always recognized as a cheerleader for her fellow team members. Her bright smile, positive attitude, and work ethic make her a valued member of any team. She takes her training very seriously, often putting in many more hours on her own to ensure she is at her physical best. She listens to her coaches and works hard to take their coaching tips to constantly improve her sport skills.