CALGARY, AB, March 6, 2018– On March 6, George Chahal, Deputy Mayor of Calgary, officially announced the launch of the 2019 Special Olympics Alberta Winter Games in the iconic Canada Sports Hall of Fame. The significance of the space was not lost on the attendees, with the display of Special Olympics pioneer, Dr. Frank Hayden only a few meters away.
Over 80 guests attended the launch with the Lieutenant Governor General of Alberta, Her Honour, the Honourable Lois Mitchell greeting attendees and addressing her support for Special Olympics and the momentous event.
“The support from government has been essential to our movement and we see it in all levels of government,” said Johnny Byrne, Special Olympics Alberta president and CEO.
“Lieutenant Governor, Her Honour, the Honourable Lois Mitchell has been a long-standing supporter and advocate for Special Olympics. On a federal level, the Government of Canada‘s federal budget provided confirmation that our movement is showing tangible results and approved an increase of funds for Special Olympics throughout Canada for the next five years. This room is proof of the unwavering pride and passion the City of Calgary has for Special Olympics. We have representatives from the City of Calgary, prominent local businesses and professional sports.”
Calgary’s history of hosting Special Olympics Games spans over thirty years hosting summer and winter games in 1982, 1999 and 2007 and the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in 1986.
“We are thrilled with the reception our city has shown,” said Karen Saunders, 2019 Special Olympics Alberta Winter Games Organizing Committee co-chair.
“I’m proud to announce that BMO has come on board as our presenting sponsor for the Winter Games. This commitment ensures that over 800 athletes will receive the best quality sports experience and leave a lasting legacy for Calgary athletes and the local Special Olympics program. Our Winter Games will also mark the first games to celebrate the 50 years of Special Olympics anniversary.”
The 2019 Special Olympics Alberta Winter Games will occur February 8 to 10. Calgary will welcome over 800 athletes from 23 communities across Alberta and N.W.T. Athletes as young as 10 and as old as 60 will compete in 5-pin bowling, alpine skiing, cross country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing, and speed skating.
Olympian, Catriona Le May Doan, emceed the event to attendees that included Calgary Stampeders: John Hufnagel (president and general manager), Dave Dickenson (head coach), and Alex Singleton (linebacker) and Olympians: Kyle Shewfelt, Michelle Cameron-Coulter and Kerrin Lee-Gartner.
Closing the event, local Special Olympics athlete, Darby Taylor, shared how Special Olympics changed his life and recited the famous Special Olympics athlete oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
For more information on the 2019 Special Olympics Alberta Winter Games, go to www.specialolympicsalbertawinter2019.com.
Event day photos will be posted in Special Olympics Alberta’s Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/122783544@N05/.
2019 Special Olympics Alberta Winter Games
The 2019 Special Olympics Alberta Winter Games will celebrate strength, sport and spirit.
Over 1,000 athletes, coaches and mission staff representing over 23 Alberta communities and N.W.T. will compete in Calgary from February 8 to 10, 2019. The Provincial Games will feature 8 sport competitions: 5-pin bowling, alpine skiing, ccross-countryskiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing, and speed skating in venues throughout Calgary. The opening ceremony will be held on February 8 at Winsport, 88 Canada Olympics Road SW, with over 2,000 expected fans.
For more information on the 2019 Special Olympics Alberta Winter Games, visit www.specialolympicsalbertawinter2019.com. Follow the journey of athletes and the host town on social media with #Calgary2019 and #StrengthSportSpirit on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
Special Olympics Alberta
Special Olympics Alberta is dedicated to enriching the lives of Albertans with intellectual disabilities through the transformative power and joy of sport. Our vision is that sport will open hearts and minds towards people with intellectual disabilities and create inclusive communities.
Special Olympics Alberta’s programs cater to all ages and a wide range of abilities to over 3,300 athletes in more than 140 communities. We provide world-class sports programs that are run daily by over 1,300 volunteers. For more information on Special Olympics Alberta, visit, www.specialolympics.ca/alberta and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr and YouTube. #ChoosetoInclude
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