Games Where Courage Matters
The Special Olympics are one of those rare philanthropic events that touch the givers as much as the recipients. The non-profit organization that began in Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s backyard in the 1960s can touch us at our core. There is a giddy kind of pleasure one gets in watching the competitors enjoy themselves.
The athletes—youth and adults with intellectual challenges—transcend every boundary: geographic, political, cultural and religious.
This February, Idaho hosts the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games with events in Sun Valley, Boise and McCall. Sun Valley residents Jim and Pirie Grossman began the process that brought the games to Idaho, but it takes an army of volunteers to make it successful. Thousands have donated their time—from the knitters who created blue and white scarves for the athletes to the countless organizations that will host foreign delegations. The seniors at Wood River High School are even throwing a Snowflake Ball.
The games will bring over 3,000 athletes from 112 nations to compete in alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, floor hockey, snowboarding, snowshoe and speed skating.
"It’s a huge foreign exchange opportunity," Pirie Grossman said. Athlete delegations will spend four days visiting various Idaho towns. The Latvians, New Zealanders, Swiss and Norwegians will make the Wood River Valley their home.
The Special Olympics torch passes through Sun Valley on February 3, followed the next day by a ceremony with 142 local law enforcement officers. His Holiness the Dalai Lama plans to attend opening ceremonies in Boise on February 6 and visit the Olympic Town at the Wood River Community YMCA in Ketchum. Sun Valley Resort hosts cross-country and snowboarding events at the Nordic Center and Dollar Mountain.
When the Special Olympics comes to Idaho, so too will the eyes of the world.
For more details visit specialolympics.org.