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Island man ‘Athlete of the Year’ at 2021 Special Olympics

He’s so fast, folks call him “Blazin”.

Campbell River’s own Hazen Meade just won ‘Athlete of the Year’ at Special Olympics Canada’s national awards night.

It’s a win he sums up in just two words: “totally unexpected.”

The 33rd annual awards, hosted virtually by TSN on Thursday night (Dec. 2), recognized athletes, coaches and volunteers from across the country, leading up to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Meade says he’s been a Special Olympics British Columbia (SOBC) athlete for 25 years now, partaking in swimming, snowshoe, softball, club fit and athletics.

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However, he’s no stranger to recognition.

Through the years, Meade has actually earned 16 medals at National Games and has brought home two medals for Team Canada while competing at World Games.

But at the end of the day, awards and medals aside, the Campbell Riverite’s just grateful to be an athlete. That’s because his experiences have had such a positive impact on his life.

“It’s really helped me become a better person. It creates a healthy lifestyle for me,” Meade tells My Campbell River Now.

He then takes that positivity and passes it on to others, helping his teammates both on and off the track.

In fact, officials with Special Olympics find he sets an “amazing example” of the true spirit of teamwork.

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More recently, Meade’s been helping fellow athlete, Ashley Adie. “I’m helping her train for the Winter Worlds, which is now in 2023,” he says.

And through the COVID-19 pandemic, he hasn’t slowed down.

Meade’s been taking part in SOBC’s Provincial Challenge Games. It’s a 7-week virtual physical activity challenge, encouraging athletes to get physically fit while participating in healthy behaviours to earn points for their regional teams.

So far, he’s been averaging around 74 points each week.

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