TVDSB Track Meet a Huge Success

posted Jun 13, 2013, 10:54 AM by Jarrod Copland
Taken from London Community News.Com: http://www.londoncommunitynews.com/sports-story/3256784-big-special-olympics-filled-with-bigger-sportsmanship/

Big Special Olympics filled with bigger sportsmanship

Think the annual Thames Valley District School Board’s (TVDSB) Special Olympics is some small event? Think again.

Just less than 1,000 kids came out for the event at TD Waterhouse Stadium with about half of the number coming out Monday (June 3) for the high school portion of the event and the other half participating Tuesday and Wednesday (June 4 and 5) on the elementary school side of things. In total, 52 schools came out for the three-day event.

That’s a big chunk in the London area, considering 8,000 athletes with an intellectual disability are registered provincially in the school programs of the Special Olympics.

According to Brent Bamford, volunteer coordinator of the TVDSB Special Olympics, the local event is second in athlete with an intellectual disability attendance provincially behind the Ontario Special Olympic Games.

The TDVSB’s version is no small feat to put on with hundreds of volunteers coming out to help make the competition happen and 80 to 90 percent of the helpers returning from the previous year, said Bamford.

“They get so much satisfaction out of the day,” he added about volunteers coming back.

The event is big, but the spirit of sport is probably the biggest thing at the London school meet.

There aren’t too many competitions where the cheer is loudest for the last runner crossing the finishing line or all the long jumpers high-five each other after every try.

With 4,000 ribbons ordered everybody is a winner over the three-days at TD Waterhouse, ranging in your modified track events like the 50-metre dash or specialized challenges anyone could play like a mini-bowling test or a slam dunk contest.

The prize at the end of the challenge is almost secondary at the TDVSB Games.

Laura Gedies, co-chair TVDSB Special Olympics, has plenty of stories about athletes caring about other things then first-place. There’s the one about a girl who traded in her second-place blue ribbon for a pink sixth-place award because it’s her favourite colour. There’s another story about a boy who was way ahead of his friend in a race, but decided to turn around to run alongside his teammate to the finish line.

“You can tell from the feel it’s really positive,” Gedies said. “It really is all for them.”

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