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

Monterey Faces: Meet lifelong Oak Bay resident Audrey Bruce

Monterey centre volunteer Linda Foubister interviews Audrey Bruce

UVic alum creates a solution to smelly compost bins

BinBreeze make composting a more user-friendly experience by reducing odor and fruit flies

Puccini trio kicks off celebration of 40 years of opera in Victoria

Pacific Opera Victoria mounts massive five-show production of Il Trittico, starting Oct. 17

Cancer experts flock to Victoria for immunotherapy conference

Experts to converge on the ‘future of cancer care’

VIDEO: Langley woman’s security camera records its own theft

Langley family discovers early morning grab was recorded

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

PHOTOS: Kipchoge becomes first runner to dip under 2 hours for marathon

Olympic champion and world record holder from Kenya clocks 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds

Most Read