These past few months have been a challenge unlike any other, however in communities across the province, Special Olympics athletes have demonstrated their resiliency and willingness to accept any challenge that may come their way.
When in-person sports and programs closed in March, athletes found new ways of participating, staying active and healthy, and most importantly, staying connected. Since the spring, athletes have been actively participating in Weekly Wellness Challenges – with a wellness and fitness challenge for each day of the week, athletes have been finding new ways to stay both active and positive from home! These challenges saw athletes connecting with friends, families and coaches by phone, email or video chat, learning new healthy recipes, trying new workouts and exercises, tuning in to Facebook Live practices and meditations, and more!
Starting in April, Special Olympics Ontario athletes challenged themselves and Special Olympics athletes from across the country to collectively walk across the country with the Coast-to-Coast Challenge – logging their walks online, it took just a few short weeks for participants to make it from the East Coast to the West Coast! Following the success of the Coast-to-Coast Challenge, they then set their sights on walking across the globe, and have invited Special Olympics programs around the world to join them! With over 1,000 participants from Ontario alone, the Walk the World with Me walking challenge has logged over 150,000 km to date!
During the spring months, hundreds of athletes also took part in the Special Olympics Ontario Virtual School Championships and Special Olympics Ontario Virtual Spring Games. In the days leading up to both events, athletes practiced from home in several drills and activities related to their Special Olympics sports and then submitted their personal bests. Then, during the virtual event, athletes were welcomed with virtual live events including Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Facebook Live workouts, cooking classes, yoga sessions and of course the athlete dance!
Despite these virtual programs, athletes are eager and anxious to be able to return to their in-person sports and programs once again, and they need your support now more than ever. As communities slowly start to make a safe return to sports, your support will be pivotal in ensuring that every athlete can make it back to the playing field and not be left behind!
Click below to learn about some of the resources and programming that has been keeping Special Olympics Ontario athletes active, healthy and engaged during the pandemic, and how we are moving forward together.