July 20th, 2024

Van’t Land wins gold at national winter games

By Lethbridge Herald on March 7, 2024.

Herald photo by JUSTIN SEWARD Moriah VanÕt Land won gold at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

Local Special Olympian, Moriah Van’t Land, added to her medal case at the recent Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Calgary.

Van’t Land tied for gold with Ontario’s Brooke Thomas in the Women Level 1 Freeskate category at her first national Winter Games.

The 17-year-old, who suffers from hearing loss and Autism was the sole Lethbridge athlete to go to the Winter Games.

“I (felt) great ,” said Van’t Land, on winning gold.

“I had fun.”

She had fun meeting the other skaters.

Gold medals aren’t unfamiliar for Van’t Land as she won at Special Olympics Alberta Winter Games twice before in 2019 and 2023.

As a result of her win last year, she was chosen to the 2024 Team Alberta training squad and then was chosen for the national level games.

“I always want gold,” said Van’t Land.

Mother Angela said it was very  exciting.

“I’ve never been more nervous at an event in my life,” said Angela.

“It was very hard for me to just relax and watch her …  and then finding out that she tied for gold was the cherry on top.”

Angela thinks she can build off this win by working her way towards the goal of becoming a Level 2 skater, continuing her competitions and improving her skills.  

The Van’t Lands got into Special Olympics thanks to Marioh’s skating coach Olea Taboulchanas, who was the head coach of Team Alberta.

“ So she was with her the whole way and it was really exciting to see their journey together,” said Angela.

“Olea’s the first one who had the idea that this was possible and to see it come to fruition was really exciting.”

Van’t Land has been  training  twice  a week with Taboulchanas since 2016 at the Lethbridge Skating Club  and once a week up in Calgary with other Special Olympics athletes.

Van’t Land also competes in rhythmic gymnastics.

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