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2024 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games begin in Calgary with torch run, opening ceremony

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More than 4,000 visitors are in Calgary for the 2024 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games, which run from Feb. 27 to March 2 at seven venues throughout the city.

"Today is a really magical day," said Karen Dommett, general manager of the 2024 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Calgary.

"We can’t wait to get this party started and have them all in a room together, and celebrate all of their achievements," adds Dommett. 

To participate, athletes had to qualify through provincial games.

They are now competing in hopes of making Team Canada for the 2025 World Games in Italy.

Participants will face-off in cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, alpine skiing, five-pin bowling, curling, floor hockey, figure skating and speed skating.

"The teamwork and passion we’re going to see from these athletes throughout this week is a phenomenal example of how representation matters," said Dommett.

A schedule of the games can be found online at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games website.

Cold weather on Tuesday forced the cancellation of outdoor practice events, but competition will resume Wednesday.

The Flame of Hope torch run and opening ceremony will go ahead on Tuesday.

Calgary-based athlete David Hall will carry the torch on a tour to Chinook Mall at 12:15 p.m., William Aberhart High School at 1:45 p.m., and the opening ceremony at Stampede Park at 6:30 p.m.

The final journey of the torch will happen after the opening ceremony at Olympic Plaza at 7:15 p.m.

"Special Olympics exists in order to create opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities that wouldn’t otherwise exist," said Dommett. 

 "This can truly influence our society and make us think differently about how we can take lessons from these games and apply them to everything we do," she adds.

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