Why the Special Olympics are more than just a 'feel-good thing'

Why the Special Olympics are more than just a 'feel-good thing'

The Special Olympics involves more than four million athletes from 180 countries, but don't think it's just a feel-good thing.

Competing at the games is about far more than just the chance at winning a medal, but rather a way of life for athletes and giving them a vehicle to be included in a supportive community.

"Once they get involved they get to meet a whole wide range of people with disabilities. It's given me a lot of confidence," says Special Olympian Jason Donovon.

Donovon is training for the alpine ski events at next year's Special Olympics World Winter Games. He won the silver medal in the moderate intellectual disability category in the last games.

All parents are proud of their children and Donovon's father Wayne is no different.

"We've never said no to anything he's asked to be able to do, we've said, 'How do we achieve it?'."

But with snow in short supply, Donovan has been keeping fit in any way he can, which includes enjoying a few rounds of golf.

"I'm also a junior member for the Wellington gliding club," says the athlete, who likes the solitude and being in control a few thousand feet above ground.

But for now the Special Olympian is focusing on next year's games and although conditions will be tough, he's aiming for gold.

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