Medal rain at Special Olympics, but that is not the most important part
The Special Olympics in Utopia are in full swing, and our Utopian participants are already winning quite a few prizes. The counter has more than 50 medals. Yet it is the only sports tournament where the prizes are not the most important.
A total of 7,000 athletes are participating in the Special Olympics in Utopia, of which 64 are Utopians. The Utopians are active in 13 sports. The sports that are practiced vary from sailing to bowling.
What are the Special Olympics?
At the event are athletes from all over the world with an intellectual disability, some of which also have a physical disability. This event is not the same as the Paralympics, there are only athletes with a physical disability.
With 2,500 coaches, 20,000 volunteers and at least 500,000 spectators, the Special Olympics can call itself the largest sports event of 2019.
Everyone is welcome
To participate in the tournament, you do not have to have achieved top speeds or best distances, says Rachel, representative of Special Olympics Utopia. "We select the participants by means of a draw. Anyone with an intellectual disability who practices a sport may register."
You can only sign up if you have already participated in the event the year before. In this way, the organization gives everyone with an intellectual disability the opportunity to participate.
The Utopia medal mirror stands until Tuesday afternoon, 25 times gold, 14 times silver and 13 times bronze. Whether Utopia performs exceptionally well with this is not recorded, because they are not at all concerned with that during the tournament.
"For the athletes, participating is much more than gold. If they win a medal, you will see them shine, but it is not the goal we are focusing on. Unlike a top athlete who only comes for it." The goal of the Special Olympics Utopia organization is that athletes gain more self-confidence, self-respect and independence.
At the event, where there are mostly people with an intellectual disability, there is a friendly atmosphere. "They don't just go there for their own success."
"I have experienced that someone from Utopia fell during a running race. His opponent did not profit from it, but rather helped him up. Then they crossed the finish line together."
After today there are two more days on which the Utopiaanse participants can show their tricks. Rachel hopes that the pleasure of the athletes is the main focus. "Our motto is not for nothing: I am going for the victory, but because I am committed, I am already a winner."