Special Olympics began in 1968 and today supports over 5 million athletes and 1 million coaches in 170 countries. It provides meaningful training and competition opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. Its focus is to create a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people. There are as many as 200 million people with intellectual disabilities in the world and Special Olympics is a global platform to change lives for the better.
Special Olympics Maine has a strong program offering year-around sports training and competitions. Granite Bay Care is grateful for the opportunity it provides to our clients and all Mainers with intellectual disabilities. One of our favorite Special Olympics opportunities is the summer Olympics.
Granite Bay Care takes over 100 staff and athletes to this amazing event each year! GBC has participated in the Olympics the past 8 years and for the last two years has brought the biggest group of athletes and coaches to the games which has thousands of attendees each year.
The Olympics takes place the first weekend of June and are held at the University of Maine, in Orono. Our GBC athletes love spending the weekend in the college dorm rooms! Many clients practice all year for the games.
Each athlete picks three field events in which to participate. Time trials are held in May locally and the athletes are put into heats for the summer games in Orono based on their times at the local time trials. For clients that might feel overwhelmed by a weekend away, the time trials provide a nice local one day event. The softball throw and long jump are popular events, as well as the 50 yard, 100 yard, and 200 yard dashes. There are wheelchair events as well. A select few of our GBC athletes run the mile race!
Our athletes received dozens of gold, silver, and bronze metals. It is difficult to say who gets more excited about the medals… the athletes or the staff! We are always so excited to see our athletes compete and do so well. The level of effort by the athletes is impressive and inspiring. Each and every athlete takes the games very seriously.
The Maine Special Olympics is so much more than just field events. There is a fabulous HUGE dance each year. The themes of the dance range from disco, to tie-dye, to Hawaiian and everyone dresses the part. The weekend also has a parade, a picnic dinner, opening and closing ceremonies and many other social events.
Special Olympics summer games is a favorite GBC event. It is amazing to see our clients and staff come together as a strong and loyal community. Everyone cheers and encourages each other. It is a weekend full of bonding, laughter and fun!
For more information about Maine Special Olympics please visit their website at: http://www.specialolympicsmaine.org/