Showing posts with label Special Olympics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Special Olympics. Show all posts

Mar 14, 2014

Special Olympics and Paralympics

This week, the Paralympics are being held in Sochi, Russia. following the tradition of following the respective Olympic Games. The Summer Games of 1988 held in Seoul was the first time the term "Paralympic" came into official use. Many confuse Paralympics with Special Olympics.

Special Olympics and Paralympics are two separate organizations recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Both focus on sport for athletes with disabilities and both are run by international non-profit organizations. Special Olympics and Paralympics differ in three main areas: disability categories of the athletes, criteria and philosophy of athletes participation, and organizational structure.

Special Olympics welcomes all athletes, 8 and older, with intellectual disabilities of all ability levels, to train and compete in 30 Olympic-type sports. To be eligible, athletes must have an intellectual disability; a cognitive delay, or a development disability. They may also have a physical disability. Paralympics welcomes athletes from six main disability categories: amputee, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, visually impaired, spinal injuries, and Les Autres  (includes conditions that do not fall into the other categories).

Special Olympics believes deeply in the power of sports to help all who participate to fulfill their potential and does not exclude any athlete based upon qualifying scores, but divisions the athletes based on scores for fair competition against others of like ability. Special Olympics believes athletes’ excellence is personal achievement and reaching one's maximum potential. To participate in the Paralympic Games, athletes must fulfill certain criteria and meet certain qualifying standards in order to be eligible. These criteria and standards are sports-specific.

Paralympics focuses on highest qualified based on performance. Special Olympics focuses on all ability levels and is committed to inclusion, acceptance, and dignity for all.

Feb 15, 2014

Facts About The Olympics

With the beautiful pictures of the Sochi games blasting at us at all hours lately, I thought it might be interesting to write about the origin of the Olympics. The Olympics got its name from city named Olympia, Greece, where the original games were held. The 1936 Olympics were the first to be televised.

Pierre de Fr├ędy, Baron de Coubertin convened a congress in Paris in 1894 with the goal of reviving the ancient Olympic Games. The congress agreed on proposals for a modern Olympics, and the International Olympic Committee was formalized and given the task of planning the 1896 Athens Games.

The first new Olympic Games featuring athletes from all five inhabited parts of the world was in Stockholm in 1912. This prompted the design of five interlocked rings. He drew and colored the rings and added them to a letter Coubertin sent to a colleague. He used his ring design as the emblem of the Committee's 20th anniversary celebration in 1914. A year later, it became the official Olympic symbol.

The rings were to be used on flags and signage at the 1916 Games, but those games were cancelled, because of the ongoing World War, so the rings made the official debut at the 1920 Games in Antwerp, Belgium.  At the end of each Olympic Games, the mayor of the host-city presents the flag to the mayor of the next host-city. It then rests at the town hall of the next host-city for four years until the Opening Ceremony of its Olympic Games.

Coubertin explained his design: "A white background, with five interlaced rings in the centre (sic): blue, yellow, black, green and red...is symbolic; it represents the five inhabited continents of the world, united by Olympism, while the six colors are those that appear on all the national flags of the world at the present time." He never said nor wrote that any specific ring represents a specific continent. It is a myth that the rings were inspired by a similar, ancient design found on a stone at Delphi, Greece. The stone was made as a prop.

The Olympic motto was also proposed by Pierre, "Citius, Altius, Fortius", which is Latin for "Swifter, Higher, Stronger."

Special Olympics - In 1971, The US Olympic Committee gave the Special Olympics official approval to use the name “Olympics”. In 1988, the Special Olympics was officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Special Olympics is the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to more than 4.2 million athletes in 170 countries. Special Olympics competitions are held every day, all around the world, including local, national and regional competitions, adding up to more than 70,000 events per year.

The motto for the Special Olympics is "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

I have the honor and privilege to assist in presenting medals to Special Olympians today at our
Special Olympics of Texas Developmental Skills Competition.

Aug 13, 2009

Eunice Kennedy Shriver

The Special Olympics founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of JFK, died on August 11, 2009. She was born in July, 1921.

As founder and honorary chairperson of Special Olympics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver led the worldwide struggle to improve and enhance the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities worldwide for more than three decades.

Her vision and unwavering dedication have touched the lives of special athletes across globe. Their lives, and those of future athletes, are forever impacted. Her legacy lives on through the acts of courage demonstrated by every athlete. I belong to a group that is honored to give out medals at local and regional Special Olympics each quarter and it is a great thrill to see the joy on their faces. It's one of those wonderful volunteer things that you get way more out of it than you put in.