Special Olympics Team Canada 2019 powerlifting coach George Maclagan of Campbell River, B.C. generously shared the following reflections during his journey home from the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.
Every once in a while, you get an opportunity to live a lifetime in a week.
That is what being part of SO Team Canada at the 2019 World Games in Abu Dhabi feels like as I sit here and reflect while waiting to return home.
So many moments have impacted my life since I left Campbell River on March 7. Athletes, coaches, and mission staff coming together to represent Canada on the world stage, and that we did very well.
As a Canadian I could not be prouder to wear the red and white. The United Arab Emirates is made up of wonderful, highly educated people from all over the world who sought us out to tell us their stories of Canada and Canadians and how happy they were to cheer for us.
Sharing knowledge and best practices with other powerlifting coaches from all over the world to help bring out the best in the Special Olympics athletes was a profound experience.
To help shape better competition even when you do not speak a common language, and seeing the joy in the athlete when he or she finds success, is what the Special Olympics movement is all about.
How can you not exchange a hug, shed a tear, or be choked with emotion as the walls of ignorance and fear get torn down by sport.
If you want to see true power of sport and inclusion, check out the Saudi Arabian women’s basketball team.
If you want to see the impact of Special Olympics on a family, talk to “Yukon” Shirley Chua and listen to her story about her son Ernest.
If you want to hear a story of what an impact an athlete can make on a coach, talk to me about any one of Team Canada’s powerlifters, Josee Seguin, Christine Sullivan, Paul Perrault, Andre Goulet and Michael Bandler. Amazing athletes but better people who make my life better by being part of theirs, even for such a short time.
Under the leadership of Mike Greek, Serge Boulianne, Kendra Isaak, and Sharon Bollenbach, Special Olympics athletes, coaches and mission staff got to impact the world and live a lifetime in seven days.
Thank you, I don’t know what else to say but thank you.