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London Blazers Floor Hockey battle adversity to win gold at Canada Special Olympic Games

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With their starting goalie out due to illness, London Blazers backup Zack Griffith knew it was his time to step up in the championship game.

“Our other goalie wasn’t feeling well so I stepped and went in,” said Griffith of St. Thomas, Ont., who has been in Special Olympics for seven years.

And step up he did. He allowed just one goal in a 4-1 gold medal win over Alberta at the Canada Winter Special Olympic Games.

“It feels fantastic. My favourite part was when we won together as a team,” he said.

Chris Lauzon heaped praise on his teammate Griffith, “He had to play today, and played on his head today.”

For Lauzon, a 20-year journey in Special Olympics culminated with the best moment of his sporting life.

“It’s so exciting,” said Lauzon. “We lost to Alberta in the round-robin, but we beat them to win gold today.”

Battling illness and injury, the Blazers weren’t about to give up.

In the semifinals, they faced adversity like they’ve never seen before.

“We were down four guys, two from isolation and one with a concussion, and our starting goalie wa out,” said Todd Desilva, head coach of the Blazers team. “We had to basically play shorthanded every other shift with four players, then five. They stepped up and got us to the Gold medal game.”

The Blazers are just one of many medals which are coming home to the London area.

Alpine Skier Ben So, who we featured prior to the games, won two gold and one silver medal.

Speed Skaters Cameron Banerjee (1 gold, one silver), Jackson Tomlinson (1 gold, one silver, one bronze) and Sara Albers (1 gold, 2 silver) also reached the podium.

Five-Pin bowler Kathleen Mills finished fourth in singles, and fifth in team play.

The athletes return to London from Calgary on Sunday.

Speed Skater Jackson Tomlinson. (Source: Special Olympics Canada)

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