ONTARIO PROVINCIAL POLICE
BRACEBRIDGE - Local community supporters in 50 communities across the province, are commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Special Olympics movement.
Muskoka along with Bracebridge OPP is one of those communities that is raising awareness of the celebration, and in support of local high school athletes who are 50 days away from competing at the inaugural 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Invitational Youth Games (IYG).
Together with other longstanding supporters such as the Knights of Columbus, communities are hosting a flag raising ceremony, send off celebration and raising awareness of the Draft an Athlete campaign to help successfully draft local athletes who will be competing on the world stage May 14-17 in Toronto. The local school that has qualified to date for these games is Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School who will be competing in Unified soccer and traditional basketball.
Today's provincial goal across all 50 celebrating communities is to raise $50,000 to go towards the Draft an Athlete campaign. Every $1,000 raised drafts an athlete competing at the games with 100 per cent of the contribution helping to fund travel, accommodation, food and competition costs.
The IYG are among several events marking the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics worldwide. These games will break new ground, hosting athletes with and without intellectual disabilities who will compete against and alongside each other.
Qualifying is actively underway and will continue through to April in time for the games. Campaign organizers estimate the final draft will include over 200 teams and 300 individual athletes including from across Canada, US and Internationally.
All sports will offer two types of team divisions: a traditional division (in which all athletes on the team have an intellectual disability), and a Unified division (in which athletes with and without an intellectual disability will have the opportunity to compete on the same team).
The Special Olympics Ontario Invitational Youth Games, held in Toronto May 14-17, 2019, will unite 2,500 student athletes (ages 13-21), with and without intellectual disabilities, from around the world, and their coaches. Hosted by the Toronto Police Service, with the support of the Province and the City of Toronto, the #YouthGames2019 will create a worldwide sporting and communal legacy during the 50th Anniversary year of the Special Olympics movement.