Langley Special Olympics bocce team.  From left: Kevin Pilor

Langley Special Olympics bocce team. From left: Kevin Pilor

‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt’

Let the Games begin: Opening ceremonies mark start of Special Olympics BC Summer Games

More than 2,500 people —  which includes 1,100 athletes, 300 coaches and an amazing 1,200 volunteers  — are set for the start of the 2013 Special Olympics BC Summer Games in Langley.

“Langley truly responded to the call for volunteers to help make the Games an incredible experience for everyone,” said Megan Grittani-Livingston, the manager of communications for Special Olympics BC.

Special Olympics BC started out with two weekends of games and about 500 participants back in 1980. And since that time, it has morphed into year-round, high quality sports programs and competitions for more than 4,100 athletes in 55 communities around the province.

They are done so with the assistance of more than 3,200 trained and dedicated volunteers.

The athletes’ compete under the oath of ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.’

The 2013 SOBC Summer Games begin Thursday (July 11) with the opening ceremonies at the Langley Events Centre. They are free to attend and begin at 7 p.m.

They will feature local dignitaries, entertainment and the guests of honour — the athletes.

The Games themselves begin Friday (July 12) and run through until Saturday (July 13) at venues around the Township, as well as one bowling alley in Coquitlam.

The LEC will be a hub of activity throughout the weekend, hosting basketball, powerlifting, and rhythmic gymnastics events, as well as the Healthy Athletes program and the main results centre. The swimming competition is at the Walnut Grove Community Centre, while Willowbrook Lanes and the Zone Bowling Centre in Coquitlam are hosting five-and 10-pin bowling, respectively.

On the outdoor stage, McLeod Athletic Park is home to athletics and softball. Golfers will test their skills at the Redwoods Golf Course in Walnut Grove.

Next door to the LEC is Willoughby Community Park, where spectators will find the bocce tournament and soccer competitions.