• Caitlin Kennedy

Special Olympics

By Caitlin Kennedy

Photo credit: Mathew Rose

Two weeks ago, the town of Crans-Montana, in Italy, played host to the GB National competition of the Special Olympics team. The Special Olympics organisation functions all year round to offer athletes with learning disabilities a chance to participate in sporting opportunities at any level. Athletes of all ages take part in competitions that are adapted to their capabilities. The Special Olympics was founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of JFK, who believed that the principles of the Olympics could help those who were isolated in society due to intellectual disabilities. Her son now chairs the Special Olympics Committee, who’s motto is “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”.

We caught up with two of the volunteer coaches, ski instructors Mathew Rose and Sam Morrey, who coach the West Midlands group and were at Crans-Montana.

How did you first get involved with coaching the Special Olympics teams?

MATT: I didn’t know anything about the Special Olympics but the company I was working for back in 2011 became the first national sponsor of the Special Olympics GB (Winter and Summer). So through that, I found out that they had a winter programme and then found my local group, which was the West Midlands team, who I’m still with today.

SAM: A mutual friend of ours had been volunteer coaching the team for a couple of years and one day, when we were teaching at the Snow-dome, he told me that they needed some more instructors to help out. Just like Matt, I didn’t know anything about it until I went along to my first training session.