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.

Just Posted

Okanagan teenagers found after missing for four days

The pair, believed to be dating, had been missing since Nov. 15.

Vernon player lifts Canada to Davis Cup tennis win

Vasek Pospisil captures singles and doubles matches to help Canada beat Italy 2-1 on opening day

Two-vehicle Vernon crash ‘looks worse than it is’

Nobody injured in accident that happened just before 5 p.m. in 2800 block of 45th Avenue

Kamloops woman sues Armstrong IPE for Slingshot mishap

Woman claims ride gone wrong caused injury, loss of wages and other damages

Lake Country burglars on the loose after attempted robbery

Two masked individuals tried to empty the Turtle Bay Pub’s ATM on Monday morning

Investigation ongoing in south Vernon shots fired

RCMP have no updates from Nov. 1 incident

Trans Mountain received $320M in government subsidies in first half 2019: report

The money included $135.8 million in direct subsidies and $183.8 million in indirect subsidies

Ottawa urges CN and union to continue talks as 3,200 workers go on strike

The rail workers began their strike after failing to reach a deal by a midnight deadline

Missing hunter located by Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

The hunter went missing after being separated from his partner around 5:30 p.m. on Monday

Penticton artist brings joy to others through her painting

Hedy Munawych is 96 years old and just loves painting the beauty of the world around her.

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Alleged drunk driver survives crash into Kettle River

The crash happened Saturday near Grand Forks

Most Read