I want to win, but if I can’t win, I want to be valiant in trying.
– Oath of the Special Olympics
The above oath, while specific to Special Olympics athletes, could very well serve any professional athlete, corporate executive or, indeed, presidential candidate.
Chock full of good feelings for anyone, the wording of the oath possibly holds special meaning for the challenged athletes of the Special Olympics, and especially for those of the Costa Rican team.
Yesterday, well-wishers waved goodbye to 73 of its special athletes as they flew off to Puerto Rico to participate in the II Latin American Games of the Special Olympics 2010. The team is accompanied by 20 coaches and two delegates and includes athletes from each of Costa Rica’s seven provinces. The special Olympians will return to Costa Rica on Feb. 28, but not before giving their all – win or lose – in a variety of events.
According to a statement issued by Special Olympics Costa Rica (OECR), the young athletes will compete in eight different sporting events: track (12 athletes), bocci ball (11), indoor soccer (17), rhythm gymnastics (4), weightlifting (4), swimming (13), tennis (2), and triathlon (10).
All members of the team must have demonstrated a certain level of proficiency in their sport, as well as an acceptable degree of independence.
“In all teams of the Special Olympics, two aspects are very important – the athlete’s ability according to his or her level and the athlete’s ability to adapt to independence,” the OECR said.
The official ceremony for the Costa Rican delegation, whose slogan is “se un fan” (be a fan), was Tuesday at the Outback Steakhouse in Escazú, west of San José. The athletes promised to “represent the country well, follow and respect the rules, with the true spirit of the games, for the glory of the sport, the persons with disabilities and the honor of our teams.”
In addition to the various competitions, Costa Rica’s special athletes will attend additional activities, such as a workshop on health, education and sports; a rally for young people; sports clinics; and sightseeing tours.