MANITOULIN—It was lights, camera, action for Manitoulin Special Olympic (MSO) snowshoers, and Team Canada athletes, Kelsey Mellan and Matt Bedard, both of Manitowaning, as they spent Saturday being profiled for an upcoming TSN (The Sports Network) feature about Team Canada attending the Special Olympic World Winter Games in Austria in March.
“TSN is profiling Kelsey and Matt leading up to the games and while they are in Austria competing,” explained Brad Diamond of Bradford Productions, one of the producers filming the feature for TSN. “We are on Manitoulin trying to get as much as we can away from the playing field. We want to get to know the athletes, meet their parents, coaches and see what their lives are like. We will be following them right through to the finish line in Austria.”
Mr. Diamond and his wife and fellow producer Isabel Diamond, along with their cameraman Pete McCallum, came to Manitoulin Island last weekend to get a special behind the scenes look at the lives of Matt and Kelsey in the lead-up to the World Winter Games.
Bradford Productions and the Diamonds have been filming for Special Olympics for over 25 years.
“By the time Kelsey and Matt hit the starting line the viewers will know them and be rooting for them,” said Mr. Diamond.
Kelsey and Matt were chosen out of all the athletes on Team Canada for a special feature prior to the World Winter Games. Their coach, Judy Olacke, explained that the duo was selected due to their community involvement, positive personalities and hard work. “They do a lot of extra stuff in addition to snowshoeing,” she noted. “They also have a lot of great community support behind them—encouraging and nurturing them.”
The TSN crew began their day of filming Saturday with shots of Matt and Kelsey in action with Coach Olacke at the Maple Ridge Trails in Mindemoya.
“I’m kind of excited,” Matt admitted to The Expositor just prior to the first take. “I’m a little nervous but it’s pretty cool.”
“I’m pretty excited,” Kelsey added. “This is awesome.”
Bradford Productions filmed Kelsey and Matt training at the trail, along with fellow MSO athlete and Ontario Special Olympic Male Athlete of the Year, Dayne Tipper, who has been helping the pair to train.
From there, TSN filmed scenes of the snowshoeing duo working out with their personal trainer Maria McInnis of KINFIT. They also met each of the athletes’ families and visited their places of work, filming them in action off the trail. Kelsey works at the Assiginack Family Health Team, while Matt is a prep cook at the Anchor Inn Hotel.
The day of filming wrapped up with Matt preparing a special meal at the Anchor Inn for Kelsey and the film crew. Matt surprised Kelsey with a delicious mixed seafood pasta dish. “We both really love seafood,” he said.
Kelsey and Matt will be competing at the 2017 World Winter Games in Austria from Tuesday, March 14 to Saturday, March 25 in Austria. The feature on the Team Canada athletes will appear as part of the ongoing coverage of the games on TSN.