Special Olympics Team Canada sent off in style to the 2015 World Games
On Monday July 20, all 164 members of Special Olympics Team Canada were together for the first time ever! The 114 athletes and 50 coaches and mission staff members flew and drove to Richmond, B.C., from all across the country, gathering to get pumped and prepare for their travels to the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles.
After an afternoon of logistical preparations, photos, videos, and growing excitement, the team members and several special guest supporters celebrated Team Canada with a send-off dinner. The team was joined by representatives of Special Olympics Canada’s great National Partners and national team sponsors who have given so generously to help make these experiences possible.
Among the evening’s honoured guests were Special Olympics Team Canada Honorary Coach and Olympic icon Mark Tewksbury, North Vancouver MP Andrew Saxton, speaking on behalf of the Government of Canada, and Steve Podborski, ski legend and TELUS National Director, Community Sport.
Saxton thought back to one year earlier, attending the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games in Vancouver, and said he was “so impressed with what I saw” at those Games. The members of Team Canada 2015 qualified for their coveted national team spots with those performances.
“You’ve been preparing for years for this, and now your hard work is paying off,” Saxton said. “Thank you for being role models for all Canadians.”
He wished Special Olympics Team Canada the best of luck from the Government of Canada, which has committed $5.6 million to support Special Olympics Canada in this fiscal year.
“You’ve made us all very proud,” Saxton said.
“This is an exciting time for you all. … You’ve all trained hard and prepared well,” Podborski told Team Canada. He then gifted TELUS phones to each team member so they can keep everyone back at home where they live up to date on their achievements in Los Angeles.
Special Olympics Canada CEO Sharon Bollenbach told the team that she was so excited to see them all together and reflect on how far they’ve come. With 2015 being the Year of Sport in Canada, the members of Special Olympics Team Canada 2015 are stars competing in the international scene right alongside the likes of the participants in the Women’s World Cup in Vancouver and the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in Toronto. She is confident the entire country will be proud of Special Olympics Team Canada 2015.
“Fasten your seatbelts – the next phase of your journey will be amazing,” Bollenbach said.
Special Olympics Team Canada Honorary Coach Mark Tewskbury gave the team great advice from his years of Olympic experiences and competitive success. He encouraged them to “give Canada an amazing reputation at the World Games,” also shared a legendary cheer to help the team smile in stressful moments!
“We are one unified Team Canada,” he said.
The dinner was co-emceed by Special Olympics Team Canada’s Chef de Mission Johnny Byrne of Alberta, along with track and field athlete Olivier Lizotte of Quebec. Basketball player Alex Pang of B.C. and track and field athlete Audrey Vincent also spoke on behalf of all the athletes, sharing their great excitement and pride.
On Tuesday, Special Olympics Team Canada flew to Los Angeles where they were greeted with a very warm welcome from the volunteers with the 2015 World Games and the Host Town program. Team Canada is having a great time meeting the wonderful local volunteers as well as the teams from all over the world! Stay tuned for more stories to come.
To get in the Games spirit and follow Team Canada from home, check out the amazing coverage set to air on TSN and RDS! Coverage of the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games is unprecedented thanks to these longtime Special Olympics Canada partners.
To kick things off, TSN will be airing the “Countdown to the Special Olympics World Games with Robin Roberts” on TSN3, 4 and 5 on July 23 at 9 p.m., as well as a re-broadcast of the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games show on July 23 at 7:30 p.m. on TSN1, 3, 4 and 5 and on July 24 on TSN2 at 7:30 p.m.
TSN and RDS will be broadcasting the full World Games Opening Ceremony live on July 25 at 9 p.m. EST. Throughout the Games, TSN2 & RDS will be airing ESPN’s daily Games highlight show (check your local listing for nightly times). Last but not least, don’t miss the ESPN original production of “30 for 30 Shorts: Brave in the Attempt” about the beginning of Special Olympics! The piece was produced by Maria Shriver and can be seen on July 27 at 7:30 p.m. on TSN4 & 5. All times EST.