SPECIAL OLYMPICS UNDERWAY!
Lots of fun and laughter!
Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, snowshoe races and snowboarding; these are some of the different scheduled events on offer for the opportunity to get involved along with the oath which be recited by every Special Olympics athlete before each competition: “May I win or if I cannot, may I try with all my effort”. All the Special Olympics athletes know the medal’s value, but winning here means finishing the race having given their best. Everyone is in a position to win regardless of their ability. For this, they are subdivided pre-race into groups of level abilities.
A national sporting event which this year marks the 50th year anniversary since the opening of the Special Olympics Movement, strongly pioneered by founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver accross unified sports on the same playing field, in the same team, on the same Susa Valley slopes, athletes with and without intellectual disabilities who participate together for a single aim: to train the body, but also the mind and gain a totally inclusive perspective, free from stereotypes and prejudices. Special Olympics sport is none other than a means to arrive at such a point. In Bardonecchia, the athlete partners involved are ready to bear witness to specific events such as Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. There are also 500 volunteers involved, 400 family members and 200 technicians involved, which, reiterate their willingness to be donate their time to help and support others not only for the Special Olympics. They are astonished when they return home at the end of the day by just how much they have recieved in exchange for their help: an inner wealth of meaurless value.
The Susa valley area has become internally aware; 14 towns have been involved in the Torch Run where the arrival of the Special Olympic Athletes have been announced at the start of the Special Olympics. Some of the athletes have also been guests at local schools so that youngsters can get to know them in person before going to cheer them on from the side lines.
Its been a great success!
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Photo by Simone Castrovillari