Page 35 - BBHAC Winter 2015-16 Gazette
P. 35

Feature                       33

– truly the Feel-good Games

the Special Olympics             are gold, silver and bronze     What are its benefits?
organisation is recognised by    medals in each division
the International Olympic        meaning that many more          Special Olympics
Committee, but, unlike the       medal winning opportunities     programmes are available
same Paralympic Games,           are available.                  for athletes free of charge.
Special Olympics World                                           More than 5.3 million
Games are not held in            Skiing is a classic example of  athletes and Unified Sports
conjunction with the Olympic     this need for selection and     partners are involved in
Games. However as with the       grading since there being       Special Olympics sports
main Olympic movement,           relatively few Sport and        training and competition in
there is a Summer Games and      Fitness opportunities for       approximately 170 countries.
also a Winter Games. The last    those of a certain disability   The organisation offers
Winter Games was in South        and, almost perversely,         year-round training and
Korea in 2013 and the next       skiing is one of the few. As    competition in 32 Olympic-
one will be in Austria in 2017.  an example, a competent         style summer and winter
                                 skier who will never be very    sports.
Who qualifies?                   quick and will never be
                                 ultra competitive is graded
Selection is not necessarily     as a middling intermediate
based on elitism which makes     and competes with others
the Special Olympics very        similarly graded. Up to
different. Competitors are       intermediate and then
graded according to ability      advanced skiers. It is not
and then compete within          solely about being the best
divisions. Each division might   but being a good ambassador
have somewhere between 5         for your Country.
and 8 competitors and there
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