Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Lethbridge’s Special Athletes

Long time volunteers like Ernie Langridge and Wendy Nelson support the Lethbridge Special Olympics program. Special Olympics Alberta strives “to enrich the lives of Albertans with an intellectual disability through sport.” 

Here in Lethbridge, a committee of dedicated individuals support special athletes like Tyler Birch and Jennifer Grimes.  Tyler and Jennifer enjoy the practice, training, and travel involved in their sports.  They value their biggest fans who are their families, friends and fellow competitors – even competitors’ families cheer them on. 

Tyler is a formidable competitor in 10-pin bowling and in 2012 held the highest score in the city – and that includes all bowlers. Tyler has also won two silver medals in the alpine skiing events in the Special Olympics in Nagano, Japan in 2005.  He was inspired to start skiing after watching his brother Logan ski.  He trained in Calgary and Drumheller until a Special Olympics program was established at Castle Mountain. Jennifer loves to compete in power lifting and her team won first place in Calgary in June 2011.  She has curled in the Special Olympics, competing in the Western Championships in 2009. Jennifer says “my mother is my hero … she has a good heart of gold.” 

The first Special Olympics were held in 1968 through the inspiration and support of Chicago Physical Education teacher (and later Illinois Supreme Court Justice) Anne McGlone Burke and Eunice Kennedy Shriver.  Shriver saw a potential in people with disabilities and decided to focus on what they “could do in sports and other activities - and not dwell on what they could not do.”  A year later the Canadian Special Olympics were held in Toronto under the guidance of Dr. Frank Hayden.  The Special Olympics were formally recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1988.

This is just one of many sports stories in Lethbridge.  The Galt Museum & Archives holds many historical treasures about people in our community. To conduct your search of the Galt Museum & Archives or Collection simply visit http://www.galtmuseum.com.

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