As well as the better known ParaOlympics held in conjunction with the summer Olympic Games, there is also the Special Olympics which has year round sports training and competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. This year, Ontario is holding a Special Olympics Invitational Youth Games which will bring together 2,000 student-athletes aged 13-21 from around the world to Toronto. On Monday, March 25, Cobourg Police symbolically raised a flag to show their support for the games and the effort in Cobourg to raise money to help local athletes participate. A Special Constable (Amy) helped organize this – both the Police and the Town showed their support with Chief Kai Liu leading the ceremony and Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin assisting. The Knights of Columbus are also supporting the games.
Three participating athletes attended – they will compete in basketball, track and field and soccer – the full range of sports also includes bocce and floor hockey.
This year marks the 50th year of the Special Olympics movement although this will be the first year that Ontario will hold an event.
The goal for fundraising in the next 24 hours is $50,000 over all 50 participating communities. Cobourg’s goal is $5,000 – presumably over a longer period. See the link below for Cobourg’s special page for online donations.
With 2000 athletes expected, the total fundraising effort hopes to raise $2M to help fund their “travel, accommodation, food, and competition costs”.
Information on Games
- These Games will take place in Toronto on the 14th to 17th May 2019, and will mark the first time ever that high school-aged students with intellectual disabilities will have the chance to compete on the world stage.
- Hosted by the Toronto Police Service, with the support of the Province and the City of Toronto, the #YouthGames2019 will create a worldwide sporting and communal legacy during the 50th Anniversary year of the Special Olympics movement
- The Games will feature five sports: basketball, bocce, floor hockey, track and field and soccer
- All five will offer two types of team divisions: a traditional division, where athletes on the team have an intellectual disability, and, a unified division, where athletes with and without an intellectual disability will have the opportunity to compete on the same team. All sports will be broken down into multiple ability divisions, where athletes will have the opportunity to compete against those of similar ability levels.
- Special Olympics – Cobourg page for online donations
- Special Olympics Ontario
- World Wide Special Olympics