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City police honour a half-century of Special Olympics

Today marked 50 years of the Special Olympics movement

Athletes and supporters gathered in front of the Barrie police headquarters on Sperling Drive today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics movement with a flag-raising ceremony.

From May 14-17, athletes will compete in the inaugural 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Invitational Youth Games in Toronto.

Across the country on Monday, 50 communities honoured the athletes and longtime supporters with ceremonies with Barrie Deputy Police Chief Ken Weatherill saying it was well deserved.

“This year is 50 years that our special Olympians have been out there doing their very best leading in so many different avenues of sports and athletics,” he said. “We are officially 50 days out from the launch of the Special Olympics in Toronto that starts on May 14 and are very proud to have student athletes from our community participating in these games and wish them the best of luck.”

The 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games was a multi-sport event for athletes with intellectual disabilities in the tradition of the Special Olympics movement.

Held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from March 14-21, the event showcased the world’s best.

While Barrie’s own 20-year-old Kristy Alford won gold in javelin, gold in relay and silver in the 100-metre race at those games, she’ll be in Toronto looking for more gold.

“I’m competing in the floor hockey event after we qualified in Newmarket a little while ago,” Alford told BarrieToday. “I’m really excited and I hope we win, but I really just want to do good. I am also really happy that so many people came today to see us and I enjoyed raising the flag.”

The Draft An Athlete Campaign was also announced today, where every $1,000 raised drafts an athlete competing at the games with 100 per cent of the contribution helping fund travel, accommodation, food and competition costs.