The following is an excerpt from the article by Special Olympics Sports Manager Kester Edwards titled Special Olympics Europe Eurasia Athletes Make History in Challenge Family Triathlon Series published by AIPS International Sports Press Association.
It was exciting to see Special Olympics athletes welcomed to participate in a larger, global event. The Sprint Triathlon competition was hosted in cooperation with Special Olympics Slovakia and consisted of 750m swimming, 20km cycling and 5km running. Special Olympics programs from around Europe including Italy, Israel, Monaco, Estonia, Finland and Slovakia took part in this inclusive event. Special Olympics competitors finished between 1-hour 15-minutes and 2-hours 47-minutes racing among some of the world’s top triathletes. During the medal ceremony, it was announced that Special Olympics athletes will be included in next year’s event.
One of the things that makes the Challenge Family race inclusive is that the clock doesn’t stop until the last athlete has crossed the finish line. One parent from Special Olympics Israel told me that his daughter trains up to three times per week. After seeing her work so hard, it was important that she have the opportunity to finish the race. For him, it was a reflection of the Special Olympics Athlete Oath that says “Be brave in the attempt.”