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Ottawa @ CWG Day 7: Gymnast completes Canada Games with 3 medals

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(This article was first sent to subscribers of the free Ottawa at the Canada Winter Games Daily Newsletter. Sign up to receive it below!)

Day 7 Recap: Ottawa Gymnatics Centre’s Cléante Théorêt completes Canada Games with third medal

By Mark Colley

Cléante Théorêt said she was “really surprised and so excited” when she won gold with Ontario in the artistic gymnastics team event on Wednesday at the 2023 Canada Winter Games. Now, she’s over the moon.

Théorêt earned two silver medals on Friday in the floor and beam competitions, completing a whirlwind week in PEI for the Ottawa Gymnastics Centre athlete.

“[I’m] overwhelmed with emotion,” she said. “My dad was crying and I almost cried.”

Cléante Théorêt. Photo: Corinne Bosch / Canada Winter Games

While she knew she had a shot to perform well in the floor event based on her previous results, Théorêt said her performance on beam really surprised her because she struggled earlier in the Games and during warmups.

Théorêt qualified in November for the California Grand Invitational in Anaheim, California, but was forced to choose between that and the Canada Games. She said that was an easy decision to make, because she’s been looking to these Games for years.

Now, that decision has paid off.

“It has really been a memorable experience,” reflected the Grade 11 Franco-Cité high school student. “I’ll remember this until the day I die.”

Ringette forced to change gears following playoff loss

The Ontario ringette team started the Canada Winter Games on a tear. They opened with a 9-1 win over Saskatchewan, then inched past Nova Scotia 7-5. They took care of the host Prince Edward Island team 8-5 before beating British Columbia 5-1.

Then, suddenly, it went south. Despite being one of only two undefeated teams at the tournament, Ontario struggled in the quarterfinals and ultimately lost 8-4 to Quebec on Thursday.

For the Ontario squad — led by 10 Ottawa players — the loss was a disappointment.

“Our emotions were through the roof. I find that our players play with a lot of heart and so playing with our emotions on our sleeves is a win-lose situation,” said Laiya Evraire, a product of St. Joseph Catholic High School. “It’s good to have players who care but at the same time, sometimes our emotions can get the best of us.”

After Thursday’s loss, Ontario continued to struggle in the consolation semifinals yesterday, where the team lost 5-3 to Manitoba.

“Just collecting ourselves was tough,” said Evraire, who scored a goal in the defeat. “After an undefeated streak, it’s hard to be faced with a loss in the quarterfinals.”

Evraire described a bus ride yesterday morning when the energy of the team was different. She said finding a new goal was difficult after the team’s first goal — heading home with a medal — was shattered.

And yet as one of the older players on the team, Evraire still felt the onus of leadership.

“As an older player, I kind of have an obligation to set an example for the others,” Evraire said. “Keeping the spirits high — I feel like that’s a responsibility as an older player.”

Julia Wilson and Team Ontario celebrated an undefeated preliminary round before falling in the quarter-final. Photo: Emma Stewart / Canada Winter Games

Evraire is no stranger to the emotions of sport — whether elation or disappointment. She played just about every sport you could in high school — hockey, ringette, basketball, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, rugby and table tennis, to name a few.

“My goal was to be athlete of the year [in high school], so I was playing every sport,” Evraire said. “If you name it, I played it.”

Laiya Evraire.

She played football as St. Joseph’s quarterback for as long as she was at the school. Evraire won MVP in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021.

The sport runs in her family. Her uncle played in the CFL and her other relatives — including both her parents — always play football together.

Evraire still plays football with her sister, who also got her into ringette. The two are going to play together in a women’s league this year.

Even amid the craziness of so many sports, ringette stood out.

“Ringette was the most community I felt,” she explained. “It felt like it almost came natural to me. I always loved to skate and I always loved that team environment.”

Next up for Ontario at the Winter Games will be the eighth place game against British Columbia at 8 a.m. ET today.

No pool, no problem for Mya Sharpe

Mya Sharpe (right) during Thursday’s match. Photo: Chris Singleton / Canada Winter Games

The town of Spencerville has no indoor swimming pool, and when nine-year-old Mya Sharpe moved there with her family from Ottawa, she was forced to find another sport for the wintertime.

Since some of her mom’s friends at work played curling, she decided to try it as well.

“I really enjoyed it,” Sharpe said. “It was something fun and new to try that I wanted to just keep doing.”

Sharpe is part of the Team Acres RCMP Curling Club rink, competing in the female curling competition at the Canada Games on behalf of Team Ontario. On Thursday, the squad lost 6-3 to Alberta in the quarterfinal, ending their run at the tournament.

“We were all a little nervous going out there,” Sharpe explained. “We unfortunately came up short, but we were making some good shots.”

Outside of playing competitively, Sharpe is a Grade 10 student who teaches the youth curling program at the Rideau Curling Club in Ottawa.

She said she loves the sport because of its unique, tight-knit sportsmanship.

“It’s a very small group of people, as opposed to a bigger hockey team,” she said. “I find that the camaraderie between the four to six of us is [better].”

Other action: Men’s hockey heads to the finals

Quinn Beauchesne. Photo: Emma Stewart / Canada Winter Games

The Ontario men’s hockey squad, headlined by six Hockey Eastern Ontario players, booked its ticket to the finals with an 8-6 win over British Columbia in the semifinals last night. Peter Legostaev of the Smiths Falls Bears scored Ontario’s second goal.

In squash, individual bronze medallist Iman Shaheen clinched her second medal of the Games as she helped Ontario to a 4-0 win over Alberta in the female team competition. It was Ontario’s second victory of the four-team round robin final round, setting up a showdown with British Columbia this evening to determine who gets gold and who will take silver.

Ottawa’s three-person long track speed skating crew wrapped up its Canada Games with two events yesterday. In the female 1000 metre, Rachel Mallard finished eight, followed by less than a second by Brielle Durham in ninth. Daria Vogt finished 14th.

In the female mass start, Mallard barely missed the podium with a fourth-place finish, while Durham finished 10th and Vogt came in 18th.

On the short track side of things, Matthew Freitag finished seventh in the male 1000 metre race.

Calabogie Freestyler skier Aaron Turnau finished eighth in the male moguls final.

In wheelchair basketball, Des O’Shaughnessy and Team Ontario narrowly lost 49-43 to Saskatchewan in the consolation semifinal. O’Shaughnessy scored eight points.

Day 8 Preview: Week one comes to a close

It’s been a heck of a week. We’ve seen Ottawa athletes take home medals in long and short track speed skating, artistic gymnastics, trampoline and squash.

Today, we’ll lower the curtain on week one with a few final events — and a handful more opportunities for bling.

The headline event will be men’s hockey, which plays for gold against Saskatchewan at 6:30 p.m. Shaheen will also be helping Ontario fight for gold in squash at 4:30 p.m.

The ringette squad will wrap up their Games against British Columbia in the 7th/8th place game at 8 a.m., while wheelchair basketball will close things out against Newfoundland at 9 a.m.

Event livestreams are available at

Our Ottawa at the Canada Winter Games central webpage has links to all the schedules, and all of our Games coverage, in one place:

(This article was first sent to subscribers of the free Ottawa at the Canada Winter Games Daily Newsletter. Sign up to receive it below!)

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