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Clarenville's Jillian Coates made the most out of her chance to compete at 2018 Games

Jillian Coates, a Clarenville native and member of the Eastern nordic ski team, had lunch with her dad and coach Trevor Coates at the Athletes Village Tuesday afternoon.
Jillian Coates, a Clarenville native and member of the Eastern nordic ski team, had lunch with her dad and coach Trevor Coates at the Athletes Village Tuesday afternoon. - Dave Kearsey

Make the most out of what you have in front of you.

That’s the attitude Clarenville nordic skier Jillian Coates took with her to the 2018 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games as a proud athlete under the Team Eastern banner.

Coates, involved in nordic ski racing since Grade 3 as a proud member of the Clarenville Nordic Ski Club, went into the Games with realistic expectations because she knew she didn’t get in a lot of training before going to Deer Lake.

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This past winter has been a nightmare for skiers because the weather has been terrible. There has been a lack of white stuff and when snow did come it wasn’t long before heavy rain washed it all away.

This is something that skiers from the east coast of the province had to deal with leading up to the Games, but Coates said the team just hit the trails when there was enough snow and they spent a lot of time on roller skis when there wasn’t any.

“We had big downfalls of snow and then we’d have a lot of rain so it would be real slushy and it wasn’t very good for skiing,” she said.

Over the past few weeks, though, the team managed to get on the trails because Clarenville received a dumping of snow and they also made a trip to Pasadena to check out the Games venue and get in some meaningful runs to prepare for the big event.

“We had to go looking for snow sometimes,” she said.

She managed to place eighth in 900-m sprint, fifth in the 5-km classic and helped Team Eastern earn third spot in the team relay event.

No medal to hang around her neck didn’t faze her at all. She was pleased with how she performed and was all smiles when having lunch with her dad in the Athletes Village.

“I am very happy. I did a lot better than I expected,” she said.

The petite girl had a great time. She was somewhat sad to see it come to an end and had some parting words for the host community who made her feel at home.

“Thank you. I had a lot of fun,” she said.

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