CORNER BROOK Nikki King was all smiles as she talked about what being involved in Special Olympics has meant for her.
“To me, no matter what people say ... just be yourself,” said King following the official unveiling of the logo for the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games, which will be held in Corner Brook.
The unveiling took place in the atrium of Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland on Friday.
King, 32, has been involved with the Special Olympics program for about 15 years.
“To be with my friends and just hanging out and going to our running, and bowling, and track and the Y — just enjoying their company,” is what she said she enjoys the most.
In the summer, King’s sport of choice is track and field. Her winter sport had been snowshoeing until this year when she decided to take up cross-country skiing.
Last week was her first time on skis and, while she admits to being nervous at first, said “I’m hanging onto it.”
King’s mom, Anita, was beaming as she watched her daughter being interviewed and said it made her feel proud.
“It’s the best thing that every happened to her,” she said of her involvement with Special Olympics. “It’s all about the friendships. She loves it, she just loves it.”
Before the big reveal, Sharon Bollenback, chief executive officer of Special Olympics Canada, said the unveiling of a Games logo is always an important milestone in an organizing committee’s planning cycle.
“The Games now have an identity and the logo becomes a symbol of all that is yet to come over the next two years.”
The logo, designed by Ed Hollett, reflects both the terrain of western Newfoundland and the spirit of Special Olympics athletes.
Its unveiling was also an opportunity for the local organizing committee to kickstart its volunteer recruitment and fundraising drives. But before the chairs of those committees spoke, Terry French, minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, surprised everyone with a $500,000 contribution from the provincial government to the games.
In his address to the those gathered, French praised the work done by Special Olympics Canada.
“For more than 40 years they have delivered a very important message, people with an intellectual disability can and will succeed in life if given the opportunity.”
Nikki King is one of about 31 local Special Olympians who will compete in the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Corner Brook.
©Star photo by Diane Crocker