Judo competitor Robert Cassell of Regina made the ultimate sacrifice for Zone 2 at the Saskatchewan Winter Games in Nipawin.
Cassell, 14, arrived at the Games on Sunday only to find that he was almost five kilograms over the weight limit for his 43kg division.
"I didn't think they'd check, so I had to sweat out all my water," Cassell said Monday. "I wore a whole bunch of coats and ran around."
Cassell went back to the weigh-in and found that he was .25kg over the limit.
That's when the sacrifice came in.
"My team manager said I should cut off some of my hair," said Cassell, who is a Grade 9 student at Usher Collegiate. "He said he was only going to take a little off the top. Then he cut off the whole thing. I had to go to the barber and get the rest shaved off."
It all turned out for the best as Cassell went on to win a bronze medal at the Games. Landon Thiessen of Swift Current (Zone 3) earned the gold medal and Daniel Irvine of La Ronge (Zone 8) took the silver.
Did the bronze medal make up for losing his hair?
"I guess, but I didnt want to shave my head," Cassell said. "The guys at school are going to laugh at me."
Athletes from Zone 3 (Moose Jaw-Swift Current-Assiniboia) won five gold medals in judo.
Besides Thiessen's gold medal, other Zone 3 winners were Amanda Kloschinsky of Swift Current, Stephanie Legault of Moose Jaw and Glen Cullen of Moose Jaw.
Regina (Zone 2) won five medals in cross-country skiing.
Special Olympic athletes won three of those medals -- Roxanne Arndt earned gold in the 100-metre and 500m events; and Ronald Shepherd took bronze in the 100m.
Andrea Bundon won a silver medal in the women's classic event and Mark Herbison took a bronze in the men's classic.
In the biathlon, Deanna Wolfe of Regina placed fourth.
"That was horrible," Wolfe said. "I didn't try because everyone was telling me to have fun instead. That's what they tell us."
Wolfe said she hopes to make up for that by helping the zone team win a medal in today's relay event.
"I think we have a chance," Wolfe said. "We're going to get the gold this time."
In other standings, Regina's ringette teams is 0-2; the women's curling team is 2-0; the women's volleyball team is 3-1; and, the men's volleyball team is 0-4.
The Games continue through Saturday.
Appeared in the Regina Leader-Post March 1998