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June 20, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Belgium

Cycling up the French Alps for Special Olympics

By Nolwen Grassin

The team savors its victory as Lionel passed on his Special Olympics champion cycling shirt. Galibier Pass, June 12, 2014 (photo Courtesy of Jean-Marie Wilmet)

On Tuesday June 12, 2014, Lionel Wilmet (35), a Special Olympics cyclist from Belgium, achieved his dream of climbing the Galibier Pass (2,645m), in the French Alps, to raise funds for Special Olympics. In 2008, Lionel dreamt a big dream: climb up passes of the Tour de France. Since then, he has climbed more than twenty passes, in tandem with his father, Jean-Marie (60). But this was not enough for the ambitious young man. Belgium will host the 2014 Special Olympics European Summer Games (September 9 to 21, 2014). “I heard the cycling venue needed showers and changing rooms but the budget was limited. This is when I decided to cycle to raise funds,” he remembers. Nine months of intensive training and tough diet later, Lionel achieved his dream. My message is “Include us because we belong. We too are great sportsmen.” (Donations: Special Olympics Belgium- Mention ‘Lionel Wilmet’ IBAN: BE92 2100 1301 4523; BIC: GEBA BE BB)

About Nolwen Grassin: Athlete Leadership Programs, Europe/Eurasia Our goal is to highlight the skills of Special Olympics athletes.

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