UBC and the Special Olympics
In July of 2014, Special Olympics Canada Summer Games opened in Vancouver and was seen as one of the best Games in its history. The Games also saw UBC as the only venue who successfully hosted the Olympics, Paralympics and Special Olympics.
Long before opening day, UBC was preparing the way for the athletes. Not just with the Vancouver campus’s sports venues; UBC personnel and student volunteers were assisting on and off the track.
For example, the Functional Fitness program, the weekly athletic training session organized by student volunteers from the UBC Southern Medical Program, School of Nursing, School of Health and Exercise Sciences, and UBC Okanagan Heat athletic teams helped with exercises specifically tailored to fit the needs of individual athletes with intellectual disabilities. Cardio workouts and strength-training, nutritional advice, de-stressing yoga classes and other team activities were all designed to optimize the athletes experience and performance.
Sustainability also made the winners’ podium. The Games were subject to the first environmental life-cycle assessment of a multi-sport event, designed to help future event organizers reduce their own environmental footprints. Initiatives such as bike-sharing, water-filling stations, recycling and waste stations, composting and food packaged with minimal waste all helped limit waste and the effects of the event on the environment.
Kudos to the athletes and a proud nod of recognition to the UBC volunteers who were instrumental in making the games a success.