CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The Special Olympics Canada 2018 bowling championships are officially underway.
C/Supt. Jennifer Ebert, the RCMP’s commanding officer in Prince Edward Island, and Michael Morris, a Stratford resident and the first Special Olympian to be inducted into the Maritime Sport Hall of Fame, lit the cauldron during the opening ceremonies Tuesday at UPEI.
More than 400 athletes, coaches and mission staff are here for the events that will take place in Charlottetown, Summerside and Tyne Valley.
Special Olympics Canada CEO Sharon Bollenbach welcomed the group to the opening ceremonies.
“The pathway to these national championships has meant hours of preparation in your hometowns,” she told the athletes. “Enjoy every minute, you have earned it.”
She thanked the host communities for their East Coast hospitality and the months of hard work by the organizing committee. The audience cheered as Bollenbach thanked the coaches for all their time and support of the competitors.
“While the athletes are what drives us every day, volunteers are the heart and soul of Special Olympics,” she said. “We extend a huge thank you to each and every volunteer, no matter what your role, who is making these championships happen.”
All of the fivepin action will take place at the Murphy’s Community Centre in Charlottetown. The tenpin competition will be shared between the Tyne Valley lanes and Credit Union Place in Summerside.
Competition begins Wednesday and continues until Saturday.
The first Special Olympics competition took place in July 1968 with athletes from Canada and the United States. Today, Special Olympics is in more than 170 countries with more than five million athletes participating. In Canada, there are more than 45,000 athletes.
Bollenbach said this is the first major national event of the 50th anniversary.
“You are part of a unique year where we’ll honour our past while paving the way for more inclusive communities across our country,” she said.
Here’s the organizing committee for the Special Olympics Canada Bowling Championships:
Cecil Villard, co-chairman
Cory Thomas, co-chairman
Steve Loggie, director of finance
Marina Fay, director of food services
Katherine Beard, director of communications and marketing
Valerie Downe, director of events
Donnie MacFayden, director of transportation
Allan Clark, director of sport (5-pin)
Dave Power, director of security
Charity Sheehan, Special Olympics P.E.I. representative
Kristen MacDonald, Games manager