World Games Updates
Sarah Fodor of Special Olympics Team USA gets some help back up the slope on Sunday, 8 February, during the 2009 World Winter Games. Fodor was practicing for the 10-meter glide competition at Bogus Basin outside of Boise, Idaho.
World Winter Games are Underway!
The 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games are underway in Boise, Idaho, USA. The largest international sporting and humanitarian event of the year, kicked off with a spectacular Opening Ceremony on 7 February. Now, more than 2,000 athletes from almost 100 countries, including Afghanistan, Cuba, New Zealand, Malaysia, China, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Iran and Jamaica, are competing in seven winter sports through 13 February. For the first time athletes from Somalia, Comoro Islands and Djibouti are competing in a Special Olympics World Games.
And although they all have one goal: to do their personal best and strive for the gold medal, their individual lives and interests are as varied as their numbers. (Learn more about World Games competition.) Many live in orphanages, some have never traveled outside their local communities and a few are from nations mired in poverty or countries engaged in conflict and unrest.
There are figure skaters who can unlock the mystery of a Rubik’s Cube, repair watches, make jewelry, play the trumpet and have earned a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. There is a cross-country skier who performs stand-up comedy; a floor hockey player who volunteers at a fire department; a speed skater who is a member of the Society of American Magicians; and one who likes to hike in the Alps. Other athletes include an Alpine skier whose artwork was selected to be in a show, one who competed on her high school gymnastics team and another who appeared in a fashion show with Nadia Comaneci and Mihaela Radulescu. Some are even married and have children, like cross country skier Shawn Stainbrook, the father of twins, from Nevada, USA.
According to Changing Lives through Sport — A Report Card on the Impact of Special Olympics, Special Olympics athletes have much in common with other athletes. Like the need for speed―a real motivator for Im Jae Yeaun, 18, and Nam Goong Cheong, 18, both speed skaters from Korea. Other inducements include, “The recognition I get from making a good move” (Ann Chan, 23, Hong Kong – figure skating); “Keeps me fit” (Chan Lai Ni, 20, Macau – figure skating); “Fancy sportswear and thrill” (Kim Dong Han, 22, Korea – snowboarding); “Team spirit” (Kim Hyung Gyu, 15, Korea – floor hockey); “It brings me joy and I’m good at it” (Mihaela Zanfir, 19, Romania – Alpine skiing); “Running on the snow looks cool” (Yamada Shoichi, 19, Japan – snowshoeing)―all good reasons for competing in their favorite sports.
If you’re a fan of skill, inspiration and excitement, stay tuned, because competition is heating up at the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho!