Hundreds of athletes landed in Winnipeg on Thursday morning for the Canada Summer Games.
The first competitors arrived around 9 a.m. from Ontario and Alberta.
By the end of the day, around 2,000 athletes, coaches and mission staff will pour into the city from all over Canada.
“It definitely hit me that everything is happening now,” said Ontario rower Amanda Martin.
The 19-year-old has never competed at the national level before.
“I didn’t expect it to be this big, but I’m really, really glad to be here,” she said.
Martin will compete in the women’s heavyweight eight-person rowing event on Monday and the women’s heavyweight straight four-person event on Tuesday. She said she’s a little nervous already.
“I’m a nervous person to begin with … but I’m definitely excited. I’m going to channel those nerves into racing, for sure,” she said.
Aaron Hernandez, 21, learned earlier this year that he’d been selected as the flag-bearer for Team Alberta.
The triple jumper from Coaldale, Alta., said it was a big moment.
“When I found out, they gave me a phone call. I was at home with all my roommates, so I put it on speaker phone and everyone had heard so we were all pretty excited and they were excited for me,” he said.
“Then I had to obviously call my mom and dad and let them know and they were pretty happy for me, too.”
He said the atmosphere at Winnipeg’s James Armstrong Richardson International Airport was getting athletes pumped to compete.
“It really gets us excited and really gets us wanting to,…