Special Olympics BC – Kamloops athlete Shinji Matthews and Kamloops RCMP Constable Sofie Winkels bearing the Flame of Hope for the 2017 SOBC Summer Games Opening Ceremony. (SOBC photo)

Get ready to fill the stands at the Special Olympics Winter Games in Vernon

The festivities get underway Thursday with the opening ceremony

Get inspired by the pure power and joy of sport.

The 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games are fast approaching, and fans are invited to attend and cheer on the 600 determined athletes who have been working hard to deliver personal-best performances in Greater Vernon. All events are free with no tickets required.

Festivities start on Thursday, Feb. 21, with the exciting Opening Ceremony at Kal Tire Place at 7:30 p.m. The entrance of the teams will be an inspiring sight, watching the pride and joy of the more than 800 athletes, coaches, and mission staff representing the eight sport regions of B.C. and the Yukon.

The Opening Ceremony will be a lot of fun for all, with plenty of entertainment and chances to celebrate the dedicated athletes as well as the generous sponsors and dedicated coaches, mission staff, and Games volunteers who have contributed so much to make this important event possible.

Related: Games will be biggest ever

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Members of the École Beairsto Elementary choir, La chorale de Beairsto, will delight by singing the national anthem in both English and French. DJ PK will pump dance tunes to get the party spirits going. The atmosphere will be electric and dancing will be encouraged.

A thrilling moment will be the entrance of Law Enforcement Torch Run members bearing in the Flame of Hope with a Special Olympics athlete to light the brand-new Special Olympics B.C. cauldron. The cauldron will be an incredible legacy of these Games. SOBC has before never had one of its own for ongoing use, but will now get to keep the beautiful Special Olympics cauldron made by A-1 Machine and Welding, which will endure and celebrate athletes for many years to come.

Law enforcement members and Special Olympics have a long and inspiring partnership of respect and inclusion. The Law Enforcement Torch Run is a year-round movement powered by members who want to help Special Olympics athletes experience acceptance, achievement, and admiration through sport. Members raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics with events throughout the year, and at Provincial, National and World Games, they participate and inspire in the Opening Ceremony as they bring in the Flame of Hope.

Related: Pioneers build Special Olympics foundation

Related: What are the Special Olympics?

The 2019 SOBC Games Law Enforcement Torch Run will include Greater Vernon RCMP representation, as well as members of the Delta and Vancouver Police Departments who are taking the time to travel to Greater Vernon to participate in the Opening Ceremony and attend sport events to support the athletes.

Everyone is encouraged to come out to enjoy the inspiring Opening Ceremony show and share a warm Greater Vernon welcome with the athletes, coaches, mission staff, and families who are so excited to be here.

After the fun of the Opening Ceremony, it’s time for these determined athletes to show their skills and make their months and years of work count by delivering personal bests in the provincial competition. All day Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22 and 23, competition will be ongoing in eight sports: 5-pin bowling, alpine skiing, cross country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing, and speed skating.

The competitors will inspire everyone watching with their determination, abilities, sportsmanship and love of sport. The action will be exciting as there will be athletes of all levels, from developmental to high performance, giving their all and being brave in the attempt.

Visit www.sobcgamesvernon.ca for schedules, venue, and live streaming information.

Submitted by Special Olympics BC.


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