Months of hard work and training culminate at 17th annual Special Olympics track meet
May 16, 2018
GUELPH, Ontario – Excited athletes and supportive coaches and volunteers gathered under sunny skies for the one of the best days in the school year.
Wednesday was the 17th annual Special Olympic Track and Field Day, held in Guelph. The event coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics.
Special Olympians from all across the Upper Grand District School Board came together with Wellington Catholic DSB students, peer coaches, volunteers, staff, police partners and community members.
This year featured 625 athletes and 526 peer coaches from 74 schools, along with 120 volunteers.
To send athletes off to their competitions students heard many inspiring messages, including “Imagine with all your mind, believe with all your heart, and achieve with all your might.” Students from Orangeville DSS had the honour of giving the Special Olympics athlete’s oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
Honorary marshals this year included UGDSB Director of Education Martha Rogers, WCDSB Director of Education Tamara Nugent, and Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield.
The large-scale track meet features a number of events including adaptive competitions, races ranging from 25 to 400m, seated softball throw, basketball toss, beanbag toss, standing and running long jump, and hockey.
Leading up to the big day, athletes worked with their peer coaches, training for events. On Wednesday, peer coaches were there, cheering on their friends as they participated in their events, in some cases running alongside them and offering encouragement.
Many thanks to all of the people whose hard work makes the Special Olympics Track and Field Day possible, including the Special Olympics Organizing Committee, Special Olympics Ontario, the City of Guelph, Community Living Guelph/Wellington, the Guelph Police Service and countless volunteers.