Special Olympics seeks return to Gimli


Special Olympics Manitoba wants to re-establish a presence in the Gimli area after its only sports program recently ceased with the closing of the community’s bowling alley. That’s the word from the organization’s sports program coordinator Garrett Hudson who was at Gimli’s Wellness Expo Sunday to recruit local volunteer coaches for the 18 Special Olympics sports offered to persons with intellectual disabilities.

Staffing a booth at the rec centre’s annual Expo sign-up day for winter activities, Hudson said 40 Special Olympics athletes in the region lost their only sports activity when the Gimli Bowling Centre bit the dust earlier this year. He said his volunteer driven organization would like these athletes to be busy again in some of the other sports in the Special Olympics program.

“We need local coaches to do this,” Hudson said.” They would come in to Winnipeg for training or we would send trainers out to Gimli if there is enough interest. We are very flexible about that.”

Prospective coaches will have a wide range of choice. Winter sports in the Special Olympics program are alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing and speed skating. When the weather warms, the summer program includes track and field, basketball, bocce, golf, weightlifting, gymnastics, softball, swimming and soccer. Currently, Special Olympics has 600 volunteers coaching over 1,700 Manitoba athletes.

“Passionate volunteer coaches are key to the success of these programs,” said Hudson who can be contacted at 204-925-5628, 1-888-333-9179 or ghudson@special olympics.mb.ca.