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Winter sports camp renews love of skeleton

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By LEE PACKNETT

Day seven of the Allied Winter Sports Camp got the competitive juices flowing. Who would end the day with the fastest time and speed among the 32 wounded, ill and injured service members in Whistler, Canada, at the Whistler Sliding Centre in the Whistler Olympic Park?

Canadian Defence Forces’ Andre Crocker posted speeds of
101.3 and 99.9 on
runs one and two
taking top honors among the group.

Skeleton is one of the ‘ice sports’ on the Winter Olympic Games program. It requires individuals to ride a small sled down a frozen track while lying face down and forward facing. The skeleton has no steering or breaking mechanism and the participants steer by movements of the body and travel at speeds up to 130 km/hr (80 mph).

The venue manager lit the flame for the competition by telling the participants who came in under or at the required weight for participation that the females will have better times than their male counterparts and the trash and smack sparks began to fly.

Thirty participants, 26 male riders and four females took to the track with each thinking that they would finish with the best time and speed with one of the female riders being retired Royal Canadian air force Maj. Angela Koskie.

“The rush of speeding around a frozen track was both insanely terrifying and a total blast at the same time,” said Koskie after almost topping the 100 km/hr on her second run of 98.3 km/hr. “Feeling the speed of the sled picking up with every twist and turn, with my face just inches from the ice track was an adrenaline rush that had me laughing out loud the whole way down. Seeing my fellow ‘Soldier on’ comrades enjoying the same amazing experience made this a day that I will never forget.”

Koskie is a Canadian veteran with 23 years of regular force (active duty) service. She began her military career as an air traffic controller and then went on to become a legal officer in the judge advocate general branch.

The smack talk settled down after the first run when some of the male participants began stripping away layers of clothing to give them less weight and more speed. Several male participants reached the
100 km/hr mark on
the first run which quelled the boasting
as the venue manager was proven wrong…or perhaps he had given the males a reason
to work harder to
beat their female comrades.

This is Koskie’s first time participating in the winter camp and she said that the “Soldier on” camp has renewed her love for winter sports, helped
in her recovery and given her the chance to make lasting friendships with Soldiers
and veterans from all walks of life.