From February 25 to 29, Special Olympics BC’s largest-ever provincial winter team will pursue personal bests at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Thunder Bay 2020. Comprised of 143 athletes with intellectual disabilities, 42 volunteer coaches, and 13 mission staff from 42 communities around the province, Special Olympics Team BC 2020 is well prepared to shine on the national stage and showcase their abilities.
They will be competing in eight sports in Thunder Bay, Ont.: 5-pin bowling, alpine skiing, cross country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing, and speed skating. This is the first time 5-pin bowling will be part of National Winter Games, having previously been part of the summer sport cycle.
Since qualifying for their spots on Team BC 2020 through their performances at the 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games in Greater Vernon, the provincial team athletes and coaches have been hard at work to be at their best at the National Games, training at least three times a week for the last 10 months. Training has included sport-specific work in their local Special Olympics programs, participating in Club Fit, additional fitness and dryland training, working with sport-specific experts, and focusing on diet and nutrition.
“This is an incredibly well-prepared provincial team. I am so proud of the dedication and effort shown by all of these inspiring athletes, coaches, and volunteers,” said Michelle Cruickshank, Special Olympics Team BC 2020 Chef de Mission. “They have been working hard for three years to reach this event, and I know they will do B.C. proud at National Games. Their abilities and their sportsmanship will inspire everyone watching.”
The Special Olympics Games cycle operates on a four-year cycle for both summer and winter sports. Athletes compete in regional events and then Provincial Games to advance to National Games, and Special Olympics Canada Games are the qualifiers for international Special Olympics competition. Through these competitions and training, Special Olympics athletes empower themselves and open hearts and minds as they set and achieve goals, build pride and confidence, and forge valued friendships.
“I’m excited, proud, and honoured to be a part of Team BC 2020! It’s a good feeling being accepted for who I am,” says SOBC – Vernon snowshoer Mary Adamson. Competing at National Games is “a dream come true. It’s a chance to showcase my personal best in a sport I love.”
The 2020 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games will see 1,200 delegation members from Canada’s 10 provinces and two of three territories come together to compete in Thunder Bay, creating an outstanding display of sport and sportsmanship in eight sports.
Special Olympics Team BC 2020 fast facts
- 143 athletes with intellectual disabilities
- 42 volunteer coaches
- 13 mission staff
- 42 B.C. communities represented
- 8 sports: 5-pin bowling, alpine skiing, cross country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing, speed skating
- 14: age of youngest Team BC athlete
- 74: age of oldest Team BC athlete
- More than 55 athletes will be competing at National Games for the first time