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50 per cent

of Special Olympics athletes work. They are 5 times more likely to work than adults with an intellectual disability not enrolled in Special Olympics.

40,301 children, youth & adults

with an intellectual disability are registered in Special Olympics programs.

Team Canada

Honouring our Movement’s Leaders

Honouring our Movement’s Leaders
Special Olympics Canada today announced the names of the athletes, coaches, and volunteers who will be honoured at its annual awards celebration on December 8, 2011, in Toronto.

Special Olympics Canada today announced the names of the athletes, coaches, and volunteers who will be honoured at its annual awards celebration on December 8, 2011, in Toronto. The Special Olympics Canada Awards, now in their 23rd year, will recognize the athletes who became the pride of their hometowns with medal-winning performances, as well as the men and women who both mentored them and supported the growth of this movement.

“The Special Olympics Canada Awards are a tribute to these inspiring community leaders, and we look forward to celebrating their inspiring performances and contributions to our movement,” said Michael Howlett, president and CEO. “Each of their stories is a reminder of just how powerful sport can be in bringing people together and enriching lives.”

The awards will be presented at an evening celebration that will be held at the elegant Capitol Theatre, in midtown Toronto, on Thursday, December 8, 2011.

Recognized for their achievements between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011, the honourees are:

Athlete of the Year – Female: Alyssa Chapman
Murray Harbour, PEI
The “pride of PEI,” Alyssa garnered a total of seven medals at the 2010 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games and the 2011 Canada Winter Games in this qualifying year, despite a serious injury that affected her training in the lead-up to the winter competition.

Athlete of the Year – Male: Michael Qing
Regina, Saskatchewan
Capturing this title for a second time, Michael collected three gold and two silver medals at two premier sport competitions, the 2010 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games and 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games, in this qualifying year.

Team of the Year: PEI Jays
Charlottetown and Summerside, Prince Edward Island
This 18-member softball team followed up its gold-medal performance at the 2010 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games with a bronze medal at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games, winning over the Greek host team with grit and determination.

Coach of the Year – Male: Ross MacIntosh
Westville, Nova Scotia
In his first world games performance, Ross coached his four-person powerlifting squad, two men and two women, to extraordinary results: 12 golds, 1 silver and a world record in the squat competition.

Festival Volunteer of the Year: Judy Dobbin
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Since 2009, Judy has served as the chairperson of the Special Olympics Newfoundland and Labrador Festival, refining the event over the last two years into one of the city’s most popular and unique fundraising soirées and almost tripling its profits.

The Jim Thompson Award: Jade Lawsane
Lachine, Quebec
Seventeen years after discovering Special Olympics as a young high school graduate, Jade has left her imprint at almost every level of the organization, recruiting athletes and volunteers, coaching, and establishing core programs in the Lac Saint-Louis region.

Named in honour of the late Jim Thompson, a founding partner of TSN and a longtime friend to Special Olympics, this award is presented to a volunteer who has contributed significantly to the movement, and who best exemplifies the spirit, philosophy, and goals of the organization.

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 year-round 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 enrolled in Active Start to mature adults, there are more than 34,000 children, youth, and adults with an intellectual disability registered in Special Olympics programs across Canada, and they are supported by more than 16,400 volunteers, including more than 13,000 trained coaches. For more information, visit www.specialolympics.ca or follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@SpecialOCanada).

For more information, please contact:
Susana Petti
Director, Marketing & Public Relations
Special Olympics Canada
T: 416.927.9050, ext. 4383
E: spetti@specialolympics.ca