VANCOUVER, Jan. 24, 2013 /CNW/ - One hundred and two athletes and 39
coaches and mission staff from 87 communities nationwide touched down
in Vancouver today, gathering as Special Olympics Team Canada for a day
of send-off celebrations.
This is the first time the team has been together in one place. Led by
Winnipeg's Jennifer Campbell, Chef de Mission, Special Olympics Team
Canada leaves on January 25 for the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter
Games in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea from Vancouver International
Airport. The 2013 World Winter Games run from January 29 to February
"Being a competitive athlete takes dedication, and Special Olympics Team
Canada has worked hard to reach this level of international
competition," Campbell said. "The athletes have made significant gains
as a result of the yearlong national team training program, and are
very excited to represent Canada on the world stage."
For most of the athletes, they started their day with a long flight to
Vancouver. They were greeted with a send-off celebration rally at the
Fairmont Vancouver Airport, featuring three Olympic medallists: Cathy
Priestner Allinger (2014 Special Olympics Summer Games Organizing
Committee), Steve Podborski (TELUS) and Special Olympics Team Canada's
Honorary Coach, Catriona Le May Doan. The Honourable Bal Gosal,
Minister of State (Sport) joined the 141-person team for its team
dinner, bringing greetings from the Government of Canada, Special
Olympics Canada's most significant financial supporter.
Competing at the Special Olympics World Games is the culmination of four
years of dedicated training, joyful achievements, and significant
improvements by the athletes who qualified for Special Olympics Team
Canada 2013 based on their performances at the 2012 Special Olympics
Canada Winter Games in St. Albert, Alberta. They reached the National
Games by advancing through regional and provincial/territorial
competitions in their home provinces and territories in the two years
leading up to the 2012 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.
"I am so proud to lead Special Olympics Team Canada, and so grateful to
our national partners whose help makes this life-changing experience a
reality," Campbell continued. "We are grateful in particular for the
exceptional support of the Government of Canada and Sport Canada, which
is vital in making our national team's journey possible."
In addition, TELUS announced at the rally that the company is giving
every member of the team a phone so they can remain in touch with their
family and friends while competing in Pyeongchang and Gangneung.
"I'm thrilled TELUS has been able to provide our Special Olympics team
with technology to help them stay in touch with their loved ones while
they are representing Canada in Pyeongchang," said TELUS vice-president
Dan Golberg. "As Vice Chair of the Special Olympics Canada Board of
Directors, I'm so proud TELUS has been able to support our athletes and
make it possible for them to celebrate their upcoming accomplishments
with family halfway around the world."
Special Olympics Canada also announced the launch of its first Facebook
application, Cheer On Special Olympics Team Canada, at the noon
send-off event. Developed by BIMM, the Cheer On app is a visual
representation of support for the athletes, coaches and mission staff
with Special Olympics Team Canada. Users are invited to browse a map
and "shout out" to one of the team's athletes, coaches, or mission
staff members, competing from ten provinces and two territories, or to
cheer on the entire team.
The 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games is the largest sporting
event in the world this year. Facts about the games as well as Special
Olympics Team Canada fact sheets and backgrounders, can be found at www.teamcanada2013.ca/media-centre
Follow Special Olympics Team Canada
Web www.teamcanada2013.ca | www.equipecanada2013.ca
Facebook & Twitter SpecialOCanada | #SOTeamCanada
About Special Olympics Canada
Established in 1969, the Canadian chapter of this international movement
is dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with an intellectual
disability through sport. Operating in all Canadian provinces and
territories except Nunavut, this grassroots movement reaches beyond the
sphere of sport to empower individuals, change attitudes, and build
communities. From two-year-olds to mature adults, there are more than
35,000 children, youth, and adults with an intellectual disability
registered in Special Olympics year-round sport programs across Canada.
More than 17,100 volunteers, including more than 13,500 trained
coaches, support them. For more information, connect with us on
Facebook and Twitter (handle: SpecialOCanada).
Image with caption: "Special Olympics Team Canada's Honourary Coach Catriona Le May Doan revs up her team at their big send off before heading to compete in the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea. (CNW Group/Special Olympics Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130124_C8655_PHOTO_EN_23024.jpg
SOURCE: Special Olympics Canada
For further information:
For information and interview requests:
Public Relations and Marketing
Special Olympics Canada
416.909.5911 (until January 26)
416.927.9050 ext. 4383 (January 26 onward)
Special Olympics Team Canada