Get involved in a truly inspiring athletic event

It’s a celebration of athleticism and consistent hard work and training that you don’t want to miss.

If you’re like me and interested in watching some inspiring athletes, exciting competition and true sportsmanship, you won’t want to miss the final days of the 2014 Special

Olympics Canada Summer Games now taking place in parts of the Lower Mainland.

A number of members from the New Car Dealers Association of BC and I will attend many of the events that continue today and wrap up on Saturday, featuring athletes from many different sports ranging from soccer and softball to rhythmic gymnastics and powerlifting.

Three new sports have been added to the lineup for the first time this year; basketball, bocce and golf.

There will be about 2,000 athletes, coaches and officials from across Canada taking part in the Games, which began on Tuesday of this week. More than 1,000 volunteers are also credited with helping to make the event truly memorable for athletes and spectators alike.

If you’re a regular reader of this column you’ll know that the New Car Dealers Association of BC has a strong affinity for and connection to the Special Olympics BC (SOBC).

Our members are among the longest-standing supporters of the SOBC, raising funds through our charitable arm, the New Car Dealers Foundation of BC.

In fact, this year we’re celebrating the 30-year relationship between the SOBC movement and the New Car Dealers of BC, a partnership that has played a critical part in the growth of the volunteer non-profit organization. Since 1984, the foundation has raised more than $3.6 million for the SOBC — the largest sum we’ve raised for a single charity among the many we support as an organization representing dealers across the province.

Why is the SOBC so important to us? We believe strongly in the SOBC’s dedication to providing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities and their pursuit of sports training and competition.

There are 276 athletes between the ages of 12 and 77 representing Team BC at this year’s event including; Nanaimo swimmer Melinda Mills, who will be participating in her first Special Olympics Canada Games; powerlifting athlete William Richardson; track and field athlete Kellie Robertson and fivepin bowler Carl Richard, to name just a few.

Our B.C. athletes have been training for months, and in some cases years, to participate in the Games and plan to capitalize on their home-province advantage for the first time since 1990.

It’s a celebration of athleticism and consistent hard work and training that you don’t want to miss.

If you can’t make the Games this weekend, there’s also the 2014 BC Summer Games taking place in Nanaimo from July 17 to 20, involving nearly 3,000 athletes from around the province taking part in 19 sporting events.

I encourage you to get involved, if not as one of the more than 3,200 dedicated volunteers who support SOBC throughout the year — then simply as a spectator. I look forward to seeing you there!

For more information on the event please visit:

For more information on Team BC, please visit:
Blair Qualey is president and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. Email him at [email protected]

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