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Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games Come to a Close

Athletes competed in 7 sports over 5 days

/EIN News/ -- CORNER BROOK, NL, March 7, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games have officially wrapped up after a week of fierce competition and incredible displays of sportsmanship. The Games, hosted in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, showcased the skills, passion and determination of Special Olympics athletes from across Canada, and tremendous hospitality from the community of Corner Brook.

"Congratulations to everyone who played a part in these Games: the athletes, coaches and officials; the Games Organizing Committee; and all the hardworking volunteers. As Canada's Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, I am extremely proud of what they have accomplished this week in Corner Brook," said the Honourable Carla Qualtrough. "The Government of Canada is pleased to have invested $5.6 million in Special Olympics Canada over this past year. This funding has helped support the participation of over 40,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities in activities in their communities all across our great country."

With a total of roughly 1,080 medals awarded throughout the Games, athletes left Corner Brook with lasting mementos to honour their years of practice and preparation. From Special Olympics Nova Scotia athlete Brianna Harris' personal best by nearly 30 seconds in the 400m snowshoe, to local Special Olympics Newfoundland and Labrador athlete Brendan Park having his former high school bus in students to cheer him on, the Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games truly embodied the spirit of the Special Olympics Movement.

"I am amazed at our athletes and not only their impressive displays of athleticism, but their sportsmanship and courage," said Special Olympics Canada CEO, Sharon Bollenbach. "Each and every time I see our athletes compete, I am reminded of their determination, passion and commitment. The Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games were a Games to remember. Congratulations to all of the athletes and coaches who participated; and sincere thanks to all of the volunteers who gave so generously of their time, energy and enthusiasm to ensure the Games were a success."

The Games ran from March 1 -5, 2016 in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador. Athletes from 12 provinces and territories competed in 7 different sports; alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, floor hockey, curling, figure skating and speed skating. The Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games are a qualifier for the 2017 Special Olympics World Games in Austria next March.

"We could not be happier with the success of the Games," said Len Moores, chair of the Games Organizing Committee. "All the hard work and dedication of the volunteers, athletes and coaches has paid off. Sponsors and the greater community embraced the Games and ensured we had the resources we needed to not just host the sporting events, but to give the athletes and their guests an experience they'll never forget."

About Special Olympics Canada

Established in 1969, the Canadian chapter of this international movement is dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with an intellectual disability through the transformative power and joy of sport. Operating out of sport clubs in 12 provincial and territorial Chapters, this grassroots movement reaches beyond the sphere of sports to empower individuals, change attitudes and build communities. From two-year-olds to mature adults, more than 40,000 athletes with an intellectual disability are registered in Special Olympics' year-round programs across Canada. They are supported by more than 19,000 volunteers, including more than 14,000 trained coaches.

About the Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games

More than 650 athletes, 250 coaches and staff and hundreds of friends and family will descend on Corner Brook from March 1-5, 2016 for the first national Special Olympics event to ever take place in Newfoundland and Labrador. Athletes will compete in seven sports: cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, figure skating, speed skating, curling, floor hockey and snowshoeing. Complete schedules and information can be found at cornerbrook2016.com.

CONTACT: Bill Wilson
         Director, Communications and Marketing 
         Special Olympics Canada
         bwilson@specialolympics.ca
Distribution channels: Education, Sports, Fitness & Recreation