The terminal was awash in a sea of red pride today as Team Canada arrived at YVR to depart for the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. United for the first time as a group yesterday, the Canadian team consists of 102 athletes and 39 coaches, mission and support staff who are on the trip of a lifetime to compete in the world competition.
We had a chance to speak with Team Canada's Chef de Mission Jennifer Campbell about the importance of the Special Olympics and how our athletes benefit from their involvement.
"Sport challenges us, helps self-esteem. You grow and develop. That's what we try and achieve through our sport programs for people with intellectual disabilities. These athletes are doing things they never thought they would be able to do or their families never thought they would be able to do. This opportunity and representing Canada, I think is a pretty awesome experience for these guys."
Special Olympics is a worldwide organization that includes 130 countries and has more than 3,000 athletes competing in seven sports for The Games. Nationwide, 35, 000 Canadian athletes participate in the program. "We're ocean to ocean to ocean", Campbell said.
Canada will compete in six of the seven sports: speed-skating, figure skating, floor hockey, alpine ski, cross-country ski and snowshoe.
The Games start on January 29th, 2013. For more information you can visit the Special Olympics Canada website or the 2013 Games website. You can also follow Special Olympics Canada on Twitter @SpecialOCanada.
We wish all of our athletes and coaches the best of luck in Korea. Bon Voyage, Team Canada! We know you willl make us proud.