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Calgary Special Olympics athletes recognized for their success at Berlin Games

Calgary athletes all medalled, taking home 11 at this year's world games.

Allie Price said she and the other athletes were proud to represent both Calgary and Canada.

Price, who took home a silver medal in golf, was joined by six other Calgarians that also competed in this year’s Special Olympics World Games in Berlin from June 17 to 25.

The athletes, all of whom medalled, were recognized publicly at Tuesday’s Regular Meeting of Calgary City Council.

“The Berlin Games gave us the opportunity to show how we are included and valued in our communities,” said Price.

The Calgary athletes that competed include:

David Nicholson (powerlifting): 3 gold, 1 silver
Allie Price (golfing): 1 silver
Abby Wilson (swimming): 1 gold, 1 silver
Jennifer Riddell (athletics): 1 bronze
Michaela Wasyliw (basketball): 1 silver
William Shepherd (basketball): 1 gold
Kyle Vogelgesang (bocce): 1 silver

Price said that they love to compete with other athletes from around the world and to win medals.

“But most important was our role to be global ambassadors for inclusion,” she said.

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek celebrated the athletes’ success at the Berlin Special Olympics World Games.

“The spirit of inclusion and personal achievements at the Special Olympics are unforgettable and life-changing,” said Mayor Gondek.

“These moments bring people together and allow us all to celebrate their personal success.”

In total, the Canadian team won 46 gold, 20 silver and 30 bronze medals. More than 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 170 countries competed in 24 sports. There were also more than 3,000 coaches and 20,000 volunteers.

Kathy Urquhart, Executive Director of Special Olympics Calgary, gave a huge thanks to Calgary city council for recognizing the athletes publicly Tuesday.

“We are honoured to live in a city that believes in inclusion, diversity and celebrating athletes of all abilities,” she said.

Vying for space to train and compete

Urquhart said that since the pandemic Special Olympic sports have struggled to find space to train in safe and appropriate facilities as she said they are no longer a priority group.

“This is a concern for us,” Urquhart said.

“We ask that you continue to recognize that we are an important organization in the city and that you will continue to help us to support all of our athletes so as they can participate in sport.”

Urquhart said that in seven months’ time, Calgary will be hosting the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games. She said 1,250 athletes and coaches from across the country will be in Calgary in February to compete.

“We will continue to share the message that was loud and clear at the World Games in Berlin: Together, we are unbeatable.”

Ward 3 Coun. Jasmine Mian, a former Canadian Olympian, made the presentation to the athletes in council chambers Tuesday.

“Team members are ambassadors for our city representing empowerment and inclusion and inspiring us to accept challenges in sport and everyday life,” Mian said.

She also acknowledged the need for more indoor sporting facilities in the city. Mian chairs the city’s Multisport Fieldhouse Committee, which just approved a moved to design stage on a new, $380 million building.

“Thank you, Kathy, for being a champion for more indoor play space in this city. It’s something that’s very near and dear to my heart,” Mian said.