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

West Kelowna fire under control

A fire broke out just above Bear Creek Provincial Park Monday

Kelowna Boat Show highlights abandoned boat program

The 24th annual Kelowna Boat Show hits shores April 27 and 28.

Kelowna’s Korczak, Canada en route to U18 quarter-finals

Kaedan Korczak and Team Canada play Latvia Thursday

‘Cutthroat’ sport of wine tasting happening now in the Okanagan

BC Tasting Games are underway with competitions in three Okanagan communities.

Kelowna pimp faces 4 year sentence

In court the details of how Simon Rypiak lured 4 women into prostitution revealed

VIDEO: Okanagan fire victim Amy Hansen speaks out on the loss of her four pets

A gofundme page has been started for Hansen, with $1,140 raised of a $5000 goal to help her rebuild

WATCH: South Vancouver Island shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident, say police

One person in custody, another fled following shooting and crash on West Shore

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man accused in daughters’ murder

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

Okanagan history in pictures

Grand opening of downtown Vernon Safeway store from 1965

Okanagan firefighter steps up to challenge

Andrew Haak will be one of hundreds of firefighters taking part in the Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge in Calgary on May 5

SPCA investigating hen cull at Shuswap egg farm

Egg farm regulator says they are confident cull at was done properly

Okanagan Rail Trail a popular place

Thousands pack North Okanagan section over long weekend

Most Read