Special Olympics

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Special Olympics and have seen some of the big posters hanging around. Maybe you have also noticed the countdowns on the main squares in Graz, Schladming or Ramsau am Dachstein. If you have not noticed any of these, and still don’t know what the Special Olympics are, here is some information about them.

The countdown in Schladming.

The Special Olympics are just like the normal Olympics, except that the participants are mentally disabled. This year, the games will take place in Styria (Austria) and the different competitions are either in Graz, Schladming, Ramsau am Dachstein or Rohrmoos Untertal, depending on what conditions are needed. They will be from the 14th to the 25th of March.

This year, 2.700 athletes of 107 nations will take part. Additionally, there will be 1.100 trainers, 3.000 volunteers (of which I am one), 800 media representatives and 1.200 honored guests. The disciplines, in which the athletes will compete against each other, are figure skating, speed skating, floor hockey, floor ball, snowshoeing, alpine skiing, nordic skiing, snowboarding and stick shooting.

The vision of the Special Olympics is to break barriers and achieve more acceptance and tolerance for these people. Their goal is the development of a new sports dimension, where performance and athletic goals, regardless of abilities and skills, are individually defined. Once a participant said, “In this pursuit, I want to be better every day, crossing borders, if possible, as part of a community and as a motivating example for many people who are still trapped in their otherness.” On the homepage of the Special Olympics, they mention 4 aims of these games. One of these, is the strengthening of human rights.

Let me Win.
But if I Cannot Win,

Let Me Be Brave in the Attempt.

I’m already quite excited for the games, especially for the atmosphere that will be there. You could already feel it during the pre-games, which were last year in January. I was there for the opening ceremony, and it was amazing. I will be a volunteer at the games in March, and my job is to accompany honored guests. I will take them to their appointments, take them to some competitions and probably show them the city a little bit.

I am fascinated by the joy and passion of the athletes of the Special Olympics, and I can call myself lucky to be a part of this great event. If you have the chance to go to a competition, I would really recommend that you go and watch it. You won’t regret it, I promise! To get a little insight on the games, you can watch a video of the pre-games that took place last year in January, the link is down below.

What do you think about this event? Will you go and watch one of the competitions, or are you a volunteer like I am? Tell me in the comments, I’m curious to know!

Link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCINUn5XSkiATCsKj0ejZMUg
Link to the home page of the Special Olympics 2017: https://www.austria2017.org/de/startseite

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