Special Olympics Canada comes to UBC


From July 8th to 12th, UBC will welcome thousands of participants from across Canada to its Vancouver campus for the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games. We spoke with Emily Ryan, who is working on the games, to tell us more about these games. Emily is graduating UBC in May 2014 with a Bachelors in Kinesiology with a Major in Kinesiology & Health Sciences.  

For those who don’t know much about the Canadian Special Olympics, what could you tell us about what the games are all about?

The Canadian Special Olympics are a national event for Special Olympics athletes across Canada. Special Olympics runs on a 4-year competition cycle: local, provincial, national, and international. This summer 2000 athletes, coaches, and officials from across Canada will be arriving in Vancouver and hosted at UBC for the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games.

How long have you been involved with the Special Olympics BC (SOBC)? What motivated you to get involved?

I got involved with SOBC in September through an upper-level Kinesiology course.  My team (Rachel Brodeur, Kimberely Jung, and Rhiannon Evans) and I were challenged to propose initiatives to foster human sustainability at these summer games.  We went on to present and publish our proposal and implemented our initiatives this past semester.

I am very passionate about the programs we have created this past year.  There is a lack of awareness of the term intellectual disability and programs such as Special Olympics on our campus. Our hope is that through the programs, events, and organization we have created, we will break down these barriers and created a thriving partnership between the University and individuals with intellectual disabilities.

UBC is hosting the Special Olympics Canada summer games from July 8th to 12th. What sports will people be able see when they come out to watch?

On-campus sports include: basketball, softball, bocce, golf, powerlifting, rhythmic gymnastics, swimming, and soccer.  Both 10- and 5-pin bowling will be hosted in Richmond.

What is one sport you are especially excited to see?

I am really excited to watch the basketball event!  Basketball is new to this year’s Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games.  I have also been out to a few of the local Vancouver basketball practices and am very excited to watch some of the athletes I have met represent BC in these national games.

If people want to get involved or volunteer, where can they find more information?

http://vancouver2014.ubc.ca is the place to go to check out volunteer opportunities for the games. Volunteer spots are filling up so I would encourage anyone interested in volunteering to sign up ASAP!

Any final words? Why should someone come out to watch these games in July?

We are very fortunate to have such talented athletes coming out to UBC this summer.  Take advantage of this opportunity and support Canadian athletes in the largest Canadian Special Olympics event ever!  As an added perk, admission is free and 8 of the 11 sports will be hosted at venues on our Point Grey campus.

Find more about the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games 2014 here 

Photo Credit: Special Olympics Canada