One of the most exciting aspects of Games ’92 is a strong commitment to the equal participation, recognition and status of athletes with disabilities in sporting events. All of the sports have been critically examined by members of volunteer committees including representation from the national sports organizations, to determine the appropriate degree of integration for each sport and how best to generate public recognition of the athletic excellence of athletes with a physical disability. “There’s no doubt that all of the benefits of being involved in sport are further enhanced by the addition of integration. On the field, in the change room, socializing after the event, or even in the off season, sports that allow people with disabilities to equally interact with their able-bodied peers is consistent with the consumer advocacy movement that is striving to achieve the full social and economic integration of people with disabilities,” says Dean Melway, Sports Program Director of Games ’92.
The ability to win, based on attitude and desire, sound knowledge of strategy and sport psychology, sport specific technique and sound training that builds up speed, strength and endurance, will be evidenced in all areas of the Games ’92 program. Competitions will be held in nordic and alpine skiing, sledge hockey and sledge racing, blind curling, deaf curling, power lifting, wrestling, goalball, wheelchair basketball and tennis, archery racquetball, boccia and volleyball. The tournament levels range from International Invitationals, and National Championships to demonstration events.
In addition to the sporting events planned for Games ’92, there will be a full range of social and cultural activities in the National Capital Region. David Fraser, Director of the Social, Cultural and Community Programs for the Games, is organizing a full slate of entertainment events not only for the athletes participating, but for residents and tourists as well. “The opening and closing ceremonies for Games ’92 promises to be very spectacular — unlike anything ever seen in the Nation’s Capital. With a cast of thousands and a professional production company, the ceremonies will be unforgettable,” says David.
Within the immediate area of the National Capital Region, Mr.Fraser and his team are putting programs in place in the school systems with educational activities to instruct students on the issues related to integration of people with disabilities. Working with existing organizations that serve people with disabilities, the educational calendar is expected to be part of the school curriculum in the fall of 1991.
A comprehensive marketing and communications team has been assembled to publicize the Games and to secure corporate sponsorship for the event. Part of this effort is to secure television coverage over as wide an area of Canada as possible so that all Canadians will have an opportunity to support athletes from their regions in medal quest.
Many of the competitors at Games ’92 will be going on to Albertville, France and Barcelona, Spain to compete in the winter and summer Paralympic events in 1992, and this pre-Olympic preview will help to hone their skills in anticipation of the world class competitions to come. Chairman of Games ’92, Andre Robert is hoping that the Games will have an impact on a number of other concerns related to the promotion of individual and collective integration on an ongoing basis. “The legacy of education and better understanding of the common goals of achievement in any area of life will be part of the legacy of Games ’92,” says Robert, “but we intend to have fun in the process, too. The excitement generated by the competitions and the festivities will act as a stepping stone to the development of a better quality of life for everyone.”