Between track and field events and curling, Kristen Bonenfant is a seasoned pro in Special Olympics competitions.
Bonenfant, a Sault native, has won 24 Special Olympics medals in tournaments held in places as far apart as Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador.
“I don’t have room to display all the awards,” Bonenfant chuckled.
When asked by SooToday which sport she prefers, she replied, without hesitation, “curling.”
“This is my sport. I love it."
“It’s my family sport. My grandparents curled, my parents both curled, my sister curls...it’s going to be really nice having my family come to watch me,” said Bonenfant, eagerly awaiting the 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Provincial Winter Games to be held from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3, 2019 in the Sault and area.
Looking forward to meeting other Special Olympics athletes from across the province, Bonenfant is already well acquainted with fellow athletes from Sudbury.
“The Sudbury team and I, we have a friendly rivalry. We laugh, we have fun, we joke around with each other. We always have fun,” Bonenfant said.
“I enjoy the games because of the camaraderie, the friendship, the laughter. There’s nothing better than throwing curling rocks with your friends. A lot of them are like my brothers. Some of them call me their sister and I call them my brothers, because I’ve known them for so long.”
Bonenfant credits one of her former teachers, Juanita Curran, and her mother, Val Bonenfant, for encouraging her to get involved in sports.
“Curling’s a good social and physical activity for her,” said Val, confident Kristen will go on to the next National Winter Games, to be held in Thunder Bay.
“We’re certainly proud of her. I’m looking forward to the Games,” said Val, who has coached both Summer and Winter Special Olympics events.
“I’m registered as a volunteer, but this time, I hope to enjoy it as a parent,” Val said with a smile.
The 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Provincial Winter Games will consist of Nordic skiing, Alpine skiing, figure skating, speed skating, curling and snowshoeing, to be held at the John Rhodes Community Centre, GFL Memorial Gardens, Community First Curling Centre, Searchmont Ski Resort and Hiawatha.
For more information, check out the Games website