Special Olympics in Berlin: Games can begin for more respect and appreciation – sports

Next Sunday, for once, it’s not 1. FC Union that stirs emotions at An der Alten Försterei. The opening event of the 2022 Special Olympics National Games begins at 7:30 p.m. in Köpenick, and 4,000 athletes celebrate with visitors at the Köpenicker Stadium that they have the opportunity to practice sport together again until June 24, to meet and also qualify for the World Games for Persons with Mental and Multiple Disabilities in Berlin year 2023.

Canoeist Juliana Rossler can hardly wait for the sports festival. “I must admit I can hardly sleep. My mother and many of the spectators will be attending the games and I am sure we will have a great opening party. 1. FC Union fan said at the press conference in the rooftop lounge at rbb, which accompanies the event widely in terms of facilities Notification, “I feel really good when I think about it.” The event was accompanied by a sign language interpreter.

Rossler is also one of the many athletes on RBB’s lovingly and cleverly crafted report that will air next Saturday at 5:20 p.m. Not only does the film provide deep insights into how athletes prepare for their competitions and the daily problems they have to face as people with intellectual disabilities. “In the water I have to encounter much fewer obstacles than I do on land,” says swimmer Silvio Winch.

Demonstration for more recognition

National Games go beyond sports competitions. It should also be a demonstration of greater recognition and social participation for people with intellectual disabilities. “It’s not always a good idea to be an outsider,” Juliana Rossler says. “And it is not a good idea to stare all the time either. I would much prefer it if people asked me.” She and other athletes hope the games will help change perceptions. Silvio Wunsch explains a common misunderstanding in the documentary: “We’re not at the Paralympics here, this is for people with physical disabilities.”

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Unlike the Paralympic Games, which are traditionally held a few days after the Olympics, the world competitions for people with intellectual disabilities are also held every four years, but they are quite separate geographically. “In terms of the number of participants, we are dealing with one of the biggest sporting events in the world,” said Sven Albrecht, Managing Director of Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, Organizing Committee hurdles In daily life, Albrecht was unable to get through because of the cycling day Sunday and did not arrive at the event at Westend until very late.

At next year’s Special Olympics, 192 countries will likely be represented in Berlin, providing a total of about 10,000 participants. “Of course our goal is to organize competitions at the highest level and appropriate competition venues.” The National Games should now be a rehearsal for this.

Competitions in 20 sports

Participants in the National Games will start in 20 sports. Stadiums are spread all over the city, from the Olympic Park to the regatta stadium in Gronau. Golf competitions are held in Bad Saarow, Brandenburg. Bowling World next to the East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain is certainly unusual.

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In addition to the many classic Olympic competitions, the Special Olympics program also includes disciplines such as bowling, bocha, weightlifting, and roller skating. “People with severe mental disabilities can also stand a chance, especially when it comes to bocha,” Albrecht says, noting that, for example, athletes with Down syndrome can do amazing exercises in gymnastics.

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The competitions are not intended to focus on disability. For Albrecht, it is much more about showing the “extraordinary accomplishments that participants can achieve”. The focus is on three things: to be seen, heard and respected. All that is often overlooked in everyday life.

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