Monday, the national Winter Special Olympic Games opened in La Thuile, Italy with an opening ceremony. Following the ceremony, racing got underway on the alpine course. The games are scheduled to run until Friday. Over 1,000 people are expected to attend or participate by event end, including over 400 athletes.
The competition includes inclusive alping skiing, Nordic skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoe running events that saw Special Olympics athletes competing against other athletes. The Games also feature floor hockey and floorball as part of an effort by organizers to get athletes to try a new sport.
A number of regions have their own teams competing. Team Atleticamenteinsieme from Abruzzo includes Mirco Curtacci, Matteo Gioia, Stefano Titanim Simone Passacantando, Anna Del Betao, Maria Feliciani, Jacopo Fiorenzi, and Giulia Fischione. Team Carnia Special Team from Friuli Venezia Giulia had one of the smaller delegations, with Luisa Polonia and Matteo Giomo as its representatives.
Tuscany had two teams, Team Special Team Prato represented by Dressadore Alessandro and Team AIPD Versilia represented by Sergio Meconi. Veneto had one team, Team Pol. Terraglio who is represented by Nicolo’ Trevi.
Lombardy had five teams competing. Team Asad Varese is represented by Veratelli Dario, Fidanza Martina. Team ASD Noivoiloro is represented by Mattia Palmieri, Andrea Beretta, and Paolo Clerici. Team A. Schiantarelli is represented by Elisa Antonioli. Team Pol. Mandello del Lario is represented by Ulderico Bagato, Marco Casalini, Stefano De Fanti, Marco Lafranconi, Nicolò Mambretti, federico Motta, Sara Macinante, Mattia Palmieri, Andrea Beretta, and Paolo Clerici. Team Handy Sport Livigno is represented by Danila Cusini, Walter Magatelli, Quinto Bormotti, Diego Colturi, Dario Galli, Cristina Trimarchi, Laura De Monti, Sara Della Valle, Alberto Biasucci, Giorgia Giacomelli, Enzo Stramibini, Lucua Stefanoni, Laura Magatelli, Ausilia Rodigari, Giorgio Giacomelli, Daniele Berbenni, Simone Mollea, Alan Ossi, Daniele Rodigari, and Lucia Galli.
Lazio region had Team Circolo Canottieri Tevere Remo participating, with members of the team including Sebastian Palmieri, Simone Venturini, Daniele Tortosa, Amedeo Fiorelli, Luca Fazi, Marco Antonazzi, Filippo Pieretto, Tommaso Nicoletti, Marco Cioffi, Giacomo Nevi, Luca Cirica, Roberto Paganini Marana, Ludovico Ferdinandi, Emanuela Daniele, Marco Palmieri, Mattia Ramoni, Nicolas Kepplinger, Edoardo Viscuoso, and Lorenzo Illiano.
Liguria had two teams present, including Team Adso Savona Onlus whose team included Salvo Simone, Cavallini Alberto, Calcagno Elisa, De Lorenzi Ilaria, and Carlini Daniele. The other team is Team Pol. Spezzina Disabili, represented by Eugenia Rossi, Mara Carrozzo, Marisa Carrozzo, Mario Benvenuto, Andrea Ciancio, Concetta Giardina, Monica Pozzi, Simonetta Pozzi, Margherita Micheletti, Aurora Maggiani, Leonardo Lancia, Marco Nicoli, Luca tedeschi, and Michele Fedi.
The red ball of the Special Olympics movement campaign for “Play Unified” was also at the Games, with organizers encouraging athletes to do just that, even on the snow. It was part of an organized global effort to be more unified and inclusive in all areas of life.