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We Want You (Posted On: Tuesday, September 25, 2012)

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With the Olympics and amazing achievements by the athletes still fresh in our memory, it is the perfect time to think about those often unknown individuals who are as responsible for successful performance as the athletes…. the coaches.

Ask any athlete how important their coach is to their performance and you will hear praise for their contributions in surprising areas…

not just help in development of the skill of the event but in the emotional support provided to the athlete.

Praise for a job well done; support and empathy when the day doesn’t go well and encouragement to get back at it and try again.

Nowhere is this more evident and athletes more outspoken in praise of their coaches than in the Special Olympics. And here on the Blue Mountain Special Olympics Alpine Team the coaches who support the athletes are valued to a degree that is hard to quantify.

Many of us recall that one teacher or one mentor or one coach that made a positive difference in our lives but Special Olympic athletes can often name many. And it is rare that the coach or teacher or mentor remembered by their student or athlete is also remembered by the parents the community and an entire movement.  Special Olympic Coaches are.

Blue Mountain Special Olympic Alpine Team Coaches provide the athletes with much more than skiing skills. Coaches have a great impact in the lives of thee athletes, by helping them acquire skills that can influence their ability to obtain employment, succeed in school and achieve their personal goals.

Coaches also get a lot in return. They get to know athletes who inspire -- athletes who are brave and determined, despite the odds against them.  Coaches are seen as more than teachers, mentors and role models -- they are seen as leaders in the community.

 Let me win. But if I cannot win let me be brave in the attempt
This is the Special Olympic motto and its’ athletes never let what they cannot do interfere with what they can do. Famed coach Vince Lombardi said, “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have”. Nowhere is this more evident in a room full of Special athletes engaging in dry land training exercises or navigating their first giant slalom course.

The Blue Mountain Special Olympics Alpine Team sponsored by Blue Mountain Resorts has achieved great recognition. From being the first Special O Team in the world to race and train with non-disabled racers to being the largest program in Canada to bringing home medals from local, Provincial, National and World Games. The relationship between the Collingwood-Blue Mountain Region goes back to 1997 when the World Winter games were co-hosted in Collingwood to the delight of thousands of athletes, their families, coaches, volunteers and spectators.

Today, the Team of up to 35 athletes and over 40 volunteers can be found on the ski hills every Sunday morning during the season. This is where demonstrations of remarkable effort, confidence and optimism open the eyes and minds and inspires all who see them.

At the present time, the Team has a waiting list of athletes wanting to join and as coaches are paired one-on-one with athletes, it is recruiting new coaches. Each new coach means one more athlete can join the team. Although Ski Instructor or Race Coach Experience is preferred it is not mandatory and Special Olympic Coaches receive training. Dry land Training begins in late October so now is the time to consider joining this remarkable endeavour.  For information on the requirements and the perks and benefits available to coaches, please contact Janet Ellis, Head Coach via e-mail to jellis51@rogers.com or phone at 705.445.6830. 

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