Vernon set to fill the stands for Special Olympics

BC Winter Games opening ceremony and events ready to shine

The 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games are coming to town Feb. 21 to 23, and so many members of the Greater Vernon community have stepped forward to support this exciting event in so many ways. More than 800 volunteer shifts have been claimed; the volunteer Games Organizing Committee members have put in countless hours to create an outstanding experience for the participants from around the province and the Yukon; sponsors and donors have given generously to help make this empowering event a reality; local businesses have encouraged their employees to get involved in lots of ways. It has been inspiring to see Greater Vernon’s spirit of respect and community surrounding the SOBC Games.

Now everyone is invited to cheer on the 600 athletes with intellectual disabilities who have been training hard to deliver personal bests in provincial competition. Greater Vernon can fill the Kal Tire Place stands for the exciting Opening Ceremony on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., and the inspiring competitions in eight sports running all day on Friday and Saturday. To check out the schedule visit https://www.specialolympics.ca/british-columbia/2019-sobc-games-schedule.

See: Vernon’s snow and city venues set for Special Olympics athletes to shine

The Opening Ceremony will include great entertainment from the École Beairsto Elementary choir, DJ PK, and the Law Enforcement Torch Run bearing in the Flame of Hope to light the brand-new Special Olympics BC cauldron created by A-1 Machine & Welding. SOBC has never before had its own cauldron to keep and endure from Games to Games, and this will be an incredible legacy from Greater Vernon.

The highlight of the Opening Ceremony will be the teams walking in with pride, joined by dignitaries including Games Honorary Coach Orland Kurtenbach, the Vancouver Canucks’ first captain. The teams represent the eight sport regions of B.C. as well as the Yukon. They will be joined by Special Olympics Alberta’s provincial cross country skiing competitors, who were not able to participate in the 2019 Special Olympics Alberta Winter Games due to lack of snow, so the 2019 SOBC Games Organizing Committee made efforts to welcome the Albertan cross country skiers here in Greater Vernon so they can compete in a qualifier for the 2020 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.

Greater Vernon will be well represented in the 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games by eight outstanding local athletes competing in four sports: Mary Adamson, snowshoeing; Colby Bell, alpine skiing; Matthew Bisschop, cross country skiing; Dominique Borgeaud, cross country skiing; Justin Chippendale, snowshoeing; Crystal Rohrer, alpine skiing; Steven Schwebbach, floor hockey; and Justin Sigal, cross country skiing.

See: Meet Vernon Special Olympics hometown heroes

“This is my first Provincial Games and I want to do the best I can,” Bisschop says.

Provincial Games are exciting and empowering experiences for Special Olympics athletes. For many, these Games offer their first opportunity to experience the joy of travelling and being part of a team. The dedicated competitors will be shooting for personal-best performances, and they will also be chasing the opportunity to advance to national and international levels of competition. Top performers in Greater Vernon will qualify for spots on Team BC for the 2020 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Thunder Bay, Ontario, which will be the national qualifier for the 2021 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Sweden.

Greater Vernon is already home to outstanding Special Olympics athletes, volunteers, and programs, as SOBC – Vernon runs 16 year-round sport, youth, and fitness programs, but this is the first time that SOBC Provincial Games have been hosted here.

Sincere thanks to sponsors

SOBC is very grateful to all of the sponsors who have stepped forward to help create life-changing experiences through these Games:

· Platinum Sponsors: City of Vernon and School District No. 22

· Gold Sponsors: Kal Tire, RBC Dominion Securities and Royal Bank of Canada, SilverStar Mountain Resort, Sobeys Inc., Sovereign Lake Nordic Club, TD Bank Group, and Tolko Industries

· Bronze Sponsors: Armstrong Regional Cooperative, CFI, District of Coldstream, Nixon Wenger LLP, Regional District of North Okanagan, Tambellini Design Studio, Teck, Tourism Vernon, and Wayside Press Ltd.

· Media Sponsors: 105.7 Sun FM, 107.5 Beach Radio, Castanet, Global Okanagan, iNFOnews, and the Vernon Morning Star

· Healthy Athletes Sponsor: LifeLabs

· Volunteer Brunch Sponsor: VantageOne Credit Union

See: Special Olympians set for qualifers


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