Special Olympic athletes take on BC Games during special anniversary

Known as the Global Day of Inclusion, July 20 marks the first Special Olympics in 1968 in Chicago

Twenty-five Special Olympics BC athletes and nine coaches arrived in the Cowichan Valley for the 2018 BC Summer Games – the same weekend as the 50th anniversary of the first-ever Special Olympics in North America.

Participating throughout the region, the group will represent one of eight B.C. zones in track and field, equestrian and swimming.

“I’m really excited to get back and compete,” said athlete Shayne Blandin, 25, from Qualicum Beach.

They will joining other Special Olympic teams on Saturday to commemorate 50 years since people with special needs took to Chicago’s Soldier Field for the first ever Special Olympics.

“The 1968 event is described as ‘daybreak’ – the early stirring of a global movement for people with intellectual disabilities,” Special Olympics BC said in a release.

The Chicago games, although at the time a city-local event, made it possible for athletes around the world to compete and have fun and not to be stigmatized, the group said.

In honour of the historic day, now celebrated as a Global Day of Inclusion, events are being hosted across the province. Twenty-three B.C. cities will be lighting up buildings and landmarks in red in honour of Special Olympics athletes.

On Saturday, Tim Hortons will be selling a donut designed by Special Olympics athletes from Alberta, with proceeds going to the charity.

For most of the Special Olympic athletes at the Cowichan Summer Games, the weekend is one of both competition and getting the chance to bond with athletes from all corners of the province.

Blandin, like some of the other athletes, is a veteran when it comes to big competitions, she said.

But for others, the BC Games marks a milestone in their athletic careers, usually as the first time they travel with a team so far away from home.

New Westminster’s Donovin MacCumber, 18, said he hasn’t been a competitive swimmer for as long as some of his teammates, but is ready to hit some personal bests for his season.

“It’s just something good to make friends, meet new people – that’s what I look forward to when I come to these kinds of events,” MacCumber said.

The athletes will participate in the after-hours athlete dance, sneak some practise in ahead of competition, all the while sharing a sense of excitement in hopes of meeting new goals – accolades 24-year-old Kayla Willms has looked forward to achieving since she had her first swimming lesson as a toddler in Coquitlam.

“I’m so proud to be here right now,” she said.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC Games

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

No bucks for Ellison park expansion, ministry tells Vernon chamber

Vernon Chamber of Commerce vows to help government connect with potential funding partners to see Chelsea Estate purchased

COVID-19: Vernon fields and courts ready for booking

Local sport organizations will soon be able to get back out on the field for limited activities

$500 fine for Vernon man caught near Coldstream playground

Richard Slobodian, 58, served one night in jail and ordered to pay for breaching probation

Vernon firefighters showcase new rescue equipment

New tools helping VFRS make safer, swifter and more versatile rescue operations

House arrest for Vernon physiotherapist guilty of sexual assault

Stephen Witvoet to serve 18-month conditional sentencing following July 8 hearing

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Kelowna taxpayers could pay $90K for losses caused by cancelled Memorial Cup

$135,000 would be put aside for a potential bid for a future opportunity to host the tournament

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Motorcycle rider seriously injured in collision with vehicle on Highway 97 west of Pritchard

Chase RCMP report that motorcycle was attempting to pass when crash occurred

Predator mutilated cats in Kelowna: BC SPCA

The BC SPCA confirmed a mutilated cat was killed by a predator

LETTER: Former Summerland mayors speak out on solar project

Five former Summerland mayors sign name to short letter

Emergency crews conduct CPR on unresponsive person in Okanagan Lake

West Kelowna emergency crews are on scene at the shores of Jubilee Mobile Home Park

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Most Read