UPDATE: 3:01 p.m.
More than 500 athletes have converged on the Tournament Capital for the 2023 Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games.
Running through Sunday at various venues around Kamloops, the event is the first provincial Special Olympics in four years.
“I’m incredibly excited,” said Vancouver athlete Daniel Thomas.
“I’m looking really forward to meeting new athletes from across the province and getting to compete with them. I’m beyond thankful to be here, and extremely happy.
“They’re the first set of Games since the pandemic hit, and just to be able to have this return to normalcy, return to life once again, I’m just ecstatic. I’m having trouble describing just how over the moon I am that they’re coming back.”
The eight SOBC winter sports include five-pin bowling, alpine skiing, cross country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing and speed skating.
“The 2023 Special Olympics BC Winter Games are an incredible opportunity for athletes with intellectual disabilities to show their skills, compete with pride, and develop meaningful friendships,” said Dan Howe, SOBC President and CEO.
“We are so grateful to all the volunteers, sponsors, donors, and supporters who are helping athletes achieve their dreams.”
The games have seen hundreds of Kamloops volunteers filling necessary roles.
Admission is free and no tickets are required for most events.
The athletes have earned their spots in the Provincial Games through Regional Qualifiers that were held from January to May 2022. The athletes have trained year-round in the hope of qualifying for the 2024 Special Olympics Canada Winter games in Calgary in 2024.
More information about Special Olympics B.C. is available by clicking here.
ORIGINAL STORY: 4 a.m.
More than 500 athletes marched into the Tournament Capital Centre field house on Thursday to officially kick off the Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games.
The games will run through Sunday, with athletes competing in five-pin bowling, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing and speed skating.
Admission is free for all events but alpine skiing, where spectators will require a lift pass and be able to ski or board to the run at Sun Peaks.
For more information and a schedule of events, click here.