On Special Olympics Team Canada’s first full day in Munich, they were invited to participate in a Host Town Torch Run with fellow Special Olympics World Games delegation, Saint Kitts and Nevis of the Caribbean.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR®) is a long-lasting tradition at the Special Olympics World Games and kicks off celebrations for the upcoming event in communities across the hosting country.
This year, the Special Olympics Flame of Hope™ was lit on 7 June in Athens, Greece, and has since travelled with through Germany before it will arrive at the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games Berlin on June 17th.
To honour this tradition, the Special Olympics World Games Berlin launched the initiative "Inclusion Day powered by Special Olympics" as an additional program to the traditional LETR® Final Leg. The goal is to create awareness for the Special Olympics movement throughout Germany.
In Munich, both Special Olympics Team Canada and Saint Kitts and Nevis delegations participated in the run, as well as local schools and community groups of individuals with and without disabilities.
Powerlifter Josée Seguin was selected to carry the Torch for Special Olympics Team Canada.
“It was a real honour to be selected. It’s a special place to run and it’s great to see everyone out and about from other nations for Special Olympics.”
Although this was her first time as a Torch runner, Seguin is no stranger to competition on the world stage.
At the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, she took home three gold medals for deadlift, bench press and overall score, and a silver medal for her squat. She hopes to bring home more gold from the Berlin Games.
"There's a bit of pressure, I won't lie," she said. "It's nice to know that I'm going a second time."
Seguin said she can currently squat 220 pounds. Her bench press is up to 137 pounds and her deadlift is as much as 308 pounds.
Despite the pressure, Seguin said she's proud to be a role model for upcoming powerlifters in her hometown of Sudbury. In the past year, she said the city's powerlifting club has grown from six to 12 members.
"It means a lot ... that they look up to me. They send me videos of their lifts and I congratulate them on their lifts and numbers," Seguin said.
Competition for Seguin and the rest of Special Olympics Team Canada will begin on June 18 – updated standings and results will be posted on the Berlin 2023 website.