Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Dreams Come True For Special Olympians

Dreams Come True For Special Olympians

Media Release
For immediate release
9 February 2005


Next week a team of 11 Special Olympics New Zealand athletes, coaches and officials are leaving the heat to travel to Japan and compete in the 2005 Nagano Special Olympics World Winter Games in Nagano.

Team members Brodie Carvalho (a skier from Otago), Sara Perkins (skier - Otago), Paul Spencer (skier - Auckland), Hamish Chand (skier - Canterbury), Robyn Harrison (skier - Otago) and Nicholas Apperley (ice figure-skater - Canterbury) and coaches Bridget Spencer (head ski coach - Wellington), Brian Benn (assistance ski coach - Otago) and Maryna Tsevina (head ice figure-skating coach - Canterbury), official Eric Apperley (ice figure-skating - Canterbury) and the Head of the Delegation Dave Pryor (Canterbury), will be realising their dream of competing at the World Games for which they have been preparing for many months.

To achieve their dream, the athletes successfully progressed through these stages to represent their country - they had to participate in a locally organised "Ribbon Day", participate in a regionally organised "Regional Games", and finally participate and perform with distinction (either win a medal - first, second or third place - or achieve a notable personal best) in the Special Olympics New Zealand "National Games". The athletes also had to be able to show that they were in good health, capable of travelling long distances and be reasonably independent.

The Special Olympics World Winter Games come around only once every four years and being chosen to join the team is an honour hard won. Last August's Special Olympics New Zealand National Winter Games saw some 37 athletes compete in winter sports events that include skiing, ice figure-skating and snowboarding, with limited positions available on the World Games team. Since their selection the 6 successful athletes have focused on raising their fitness and skill levels by following a daily gym and swim programme.

"Every Special Olympics World Winter Games that I have been involved in has been held in the Northern Hemisphere - during New Zealand's summer, so we" re used to getting around the obstacle of not being able to train in our winter sports," says Dave Pryor. "Our ice figure-skater trains indoors, so that's no problem, and we try to get in as much of the winter season with our skiers as possible before Christmas, after which we ask athletes to follow a strict exercise programme set by their coaches to keep them in top shape."

The team arrives in Japan two weeks before competition starts, to give them time to train and get used to the conditions. On 26 February they will join around 2,500 athletes from 80 countries to march into Nagano's M-Wave Arena as part of the Opening Ceremony for the Games. The following 8 days will see an atmosphere of intense competition and excitement as the athletes compete for medals and ribbons.

The Special Olympics oath, "Let me win, but if I cannot win let me be brave in the attempt," recognises that a successful athlete is not necessarily one who comes home with all the awards. For most athletes, success is all about participation, personal achievement and representing their country with pride and honour.


Media notes:

More information about the Games can be found on the official website

Team members will travel from Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington to Auckland on Saturday 12 February, where they will stay at the Scenic Circle Airedale Hotel, 380 Queen Street, until their departure for Tokyo, Japan, early on Monday morning.

Notes for Editors:

Special Olympics New Zealand (SONZ) is a registered charitable organisation which has operated throughout New Zealand since 1983. It is dedicated to providing sports training and competition for children and adults with an intellectual disability. SONZ emphasises participation for individuals at all levels of ability, achieving personal best performances, and regular coaching, training and competition for all athletes. Just over 3800 athletes currently participate on a regular basis. SONZ is supported by the SKYCITY Auckland Community Trust (SKYCITY has been our major sponsor since 1996), SPARC and Provender.

Special Olympics was founded in the US in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver. There are more than 150 accredited national programmes world wide. The flagship events for the movement are the international Special Olympics World Games, which are held every two years alternating between Summer and Winter Games. The last Summer Games were held in Dublin, Ireland, in June 2003. New Zealand athletes brought home 60 medals, including 20 gold. The next international event in which New Zealand will compete is the World Summer Games to be held in Shanghai, China, in 2007. New Zealand's largest ever national event, the Special Olympics New Zealand National and Asia-Pacific Invitation Games, will be held in Christchurch in November/December 2005. Some 2000 athletes are expected, including a number from overseas.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis Review: From Free Press to Fancy Dress - Spielberg's The Post

Stephen Spielberg's The Post is an opportune newsroom drama in which a corrupt Republican president wages war against the "liberal media," as its plucky proprietor risks economic and legal ruin to bring the Pentagon Papers to public light. Its true protagonist is publisher Katharine Graham, a stringently diplomatic businesswoman, reluctantly compelled to take an overtly political stance in the interests of democracy and freedom of the press. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Black Dog of Empire - Joe Wright's Darkest Hour'

On the eve of England's contorted efforts to negotiate its ignominious retreat from Europe and the chaotic spectacle of the Tory party ratifying its undignified departure from a union originally designed to prevent another World War, there has been a renewed appetite for movies about 1940. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Anger Begets Anger - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

For fans of what Ricky Gervais termed "number movies" (Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven, Ocean's 11, Se7en), Martin McDonagh's latest offering will be a welcome addition to the roster. The Irish playwright turned screenwriter and director has produced another quirky and darkly comic tragedy that evolves around the futility of anger and grief, retribution and revenge. More>>

Howard Davis: Sexting in George Dawe's Genevieve - Part I

Te Papa's permanent collection includes an enormous oil painting by the English artist George Dawe called Genevieve (from by a poem by S.T. Coleridge entitled 'Love') that was prominently featured in the 2013 exhibition Angels & Aristocrats. Compare the massive immensity of the bard's gorgeously gilded harp with the stubby metallic handle of the Dark Knight's falchion, both suggestively positioned at crotch-level. Dawe's enormous canvas invokes a whole history of blushing that pivots around a direct connection to sexual arousal. More>>


Ethnomusicology: Malian ‘Desert Blues’ Revolutionaries To Storm WOMAD

Malian band Tinariwen (playing WOMAD NZ in March 2018) are a true musical revolutionaries in every sense. Active since 1982, these nomadic Tuareg or ‘Kel Tamashek’ (speakers of Tamashek) electric guitar legends revolutionised a traditional style to give birth to a new genre often called ‘desert blues’. They also have a history rooted deeply in revolution and fighting for the rights of their nomadic Tamashek speaking culture and people. More>>

Gordon Campbell: Best New Music Of 2017

Any ‘best of list’ has to be an exercise in wishful thinking, given the splintering of everyone’s listening habits... But maybe… it could be time for the re-discovery of the lost art of listening to an entire album, all the way through. Just putting that idea out there. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland