Ryan Kearney has been named the Team Nova Scotia flag bearer for the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games’ opening ceremony.
“It is exciting,” the Antigonish native said.
Kearney learned of the honour a few days ago, when Eastern Highlands Special Olympics coordinator Joan Conrad visited his house to deliver the great news.
“I was really surprised,” he said, with a laugh.
Kearney talked about being named flag bearer while visiting his home-away-from-home, the Antigonish Golf and Country Club (AGCC), where he will swing for his second gold in the national competition.
“It is going to be a lot of fun,” he said.
Kearney agreed knowing the AGCC better than any of his competitors should provide him with an advantage.
“But I still have to play well,” he noted.
In 2017, Kearney captured the Nova Scotia Special Olympics crown in his own backyard.
The multi-sport athlete also garnered gold in the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Vancouver.
“It is a fun sport,” Kearney said, when asked about why he enjoys golf.
“I love being out here and play as much as I can.”
It will be the third national Special Olympics for Kearney, who has also taken the pitch with his Eastern Highlands team as representatives of Team Nova Scotia in soccer.
Considering the surname – and his deep family roots in New Waterford, Cape Breton – it shouldn’t be surprising playing that sport is part of his repertoire.
He makes his way to AGCC, as much as he can; an effort that will ramp up in the final days leading up to the competition.
“I am working as hard as I can,” Kearney said.
He pointed to his ability off the tee, when talking about the strengths of his game.
“I am also good with fairway shots and putting,” Kearney said.
When asked what he is looking forward to most about the Games’ experience, he said “meeting new people.”
Having fun, nevertheless, will not take away from his focus on the links.
“I am going for gold,” Kearney said.
The Games, which get underway with the opening ceremony July 31, will run until Aug. 4 in Antigonish.
For more information, including the competition schedule, visit so2018.specialolympicsns.ca