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Barrie man named Special Olympics Ontario's athlete of the year

'He’s been working hard. He always gives 100 per cent,' says coach
Philip Lock displays his 2013 silver medal taken at Horseshoe Valley after the World Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Philip Lock is a common sight in theatre circles, often handing out programs during productions at Five Points Theatre downtown and sometimes even appearing as a ghost in Halloween events.

But outside of the world of drama, the 38-year-old Barrie man has a whole other life as a Special Olympian.

Lock has been named Special Olympics Ontario’s athlete of the year, along with Julia Romualdi of Timmins.

“He’s had to train totally by himself,” said his coach, retired high school French teacher Ann Scully, who herself has a rich history as a volunteer with the Special Olympics. “We were supposed to have our first in-person training last Thursday and then the tornado kind of stopped that.

“And his first comment then was: ‘Oh, so Ann, are you going to do a virtual workout then?’”

While their training locale, Sunnidale Park, was free of twister activity, most of the city endured a deluge of rain and stormy weather, eliminating any chance of training together.

“He’s been working hard. He always gives 100 per cent," she said. 

So, the competitive cross-country skier was once again left to train on his own. 

Scully says he keeps to the regime, with or without coaches on hand, and does even more than what’s required. 

There’s the winter sports online workout, Special Olympics workouts, as well as workouts on YouTube, world team workouts, endurance training and his training bike doubles as a mode of transportation.

Just about every day he’s involved in some kind of workout.

Which is a big reason why she nominated him for Special Olympics Ontario athlete of the year.

Lock is on the world team and is currently training for the Special Olympics World Winter Games to be held in Kazan, Russia in January. And Scully will be on hand having been selected to be part of the cross-country skiing coaching team.

Lock was delighted to have been named as athlete of the year, but feels he’s been enriched by the opportunity to participate in the Special Olympics.

“I actually feel I did well with Special Olympics overall,” he said. “I’m still going to continue on with it.”

Over the years, he’s competed in Quebec City; St. Albert, Alta.; PyeongChang, South Korea; Vancouver; and Cornerbrook, N.L. He's also competed in the Ontario cities of Thunder Bay, North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie.

Lock’s work has also been acknowledged here at home. In 2018, he was inducted into the Barrie Sports Hall of Fame and his picture hangs with those of others named at the Allandale Recreation Centre.

As for Kazan, Russia in January, of one thing he’s certain  it will be cold. But that’s nothing new to winter athletes.

“I have had minus-30 Celsuis,” Lock told BarrieToday. “Sometimes our events are delayed until it warms up.”

His coach says while he actively trains on trail and off, Lock is also an active and visible member of the Barrie community and a great promoter of local theatre.

“There’s not been a performance that he’s been working with that he has not advertised by word of mouth, everywhere he goes,” said Scully.

Arkady Spivak at Barrie’s Talk is Free Theatre agrees.

Lock has long become an integral part of Barrie's cultural life, he says.

"Philip has quickly established himself as an ambassador and volunteer of many local cultural organizations,” said Spivak, the theatre group’s artistic producer.

About the Author: Marg. Bruineman

Marg. Bruineman is an award-winning journalist who focuses on justice issues and human interest stories
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