Special Olympics World Games Held in June in Berlin
Article by Sue Dickens/Images submitted
Campbellford – Returning from the Special Olympics World Games, athlete Blair Bastien and her basketball team, the Canadian Warriors, brought back the silver medal to Canada.
The Games are the world’s largest inclusive sports event. Thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities competed together. From 17 to 25 June 2023, the Games took place in Berlin and for the first time in Germany.
Blair’s team went against teams from many different countries including Japan, India, Mali and Morocco. It was Mali that defeated them to get a gold medal.
Celebrating the path to inclusion and setting an example on a global scale, with a brilliant fireworks display in the Berlin summer sky and the extinguishing of the flame, the Games brought many people across the country and around the world closer to what is possible on the path to more inclusion.
Blair’s team was made up of players from across Canada.
The fireworks followed the presentation of gold, silver and bronze medals as well as ribbons for the other participants.
When asked how she felt bringing home the medal, she told Trent Hills Now, “I feel absolutely spectacular. We are the first ever Team Canada women’s basketball team to ever go to world’s and to ever come home with a silver.”
In our first interview with Blair last year we asked about her disability and the challenges she faces on a day-to-day basis. “I was diagnosed at a young age,” she noted.
For example, “I’m not able to tell time from the regular clock. I can’t count money by myself,” she explained. She lives with her mom, Judy Todd, her sister and brother-in-law who help her when needed.
And then there’s her coaches who are a big part of her life.
She has had many coaches along the way and would like to thank them all but in particular the three coaches who took the team to the world event and they are: Head Coach Megan Penno and Assistant Coach is Ben Lozinsky. Team Advocate Tina Copp.
Blair has participated in Special Olympics for almost a decade.
Blair also wanted to mention the trip to the city of Berlin was something she will never forget.
“It was the most amazing place I’ve ever been to in my entire life. The architecture…the history along that Birmingham wall…I loved everything, it was just amazing.”
Blair’s love of sports continues.
“I’m going to keep on going with Special Olympics. It’s not going to stop. I’m going to train even harder than I ever did before and I hope to make it to another round of world’s when the time comes.,” she said.
In keeping with that goal Blair will be back in training for the provincials in Special Olympics which will take place in 2024.
She has been playing sports for the past decade, everything from basketball, to soccer, track, baseball, floor hockey, ice hockey, Bocce, baseball and snowshoeing
In her first interview with Trent Hills Now Blair talked about her love of sports.
“I’ve always been interested in sports, even when I was in high school. I never got the chance to really play in high school due to being bullied a lot. I never got the acceptance that I wanted. So when somebody brought up to me about the Special Olympics, I knew nothing about it. I had heard of it, but I never knew anything about it. And so I just tried out,”
This sport has helped her make a lot of friends too, friends across Canada who she keeps in touch with regularly.
The Special Olympic, she said, makes her feel appreciated.
“I feel equal. I don’t feel left out and I don’t feel like I’m being taken advantage of. I feel wanted and appreciated and accepted.”
Bastien plays the position of point guard on the basketball court.
Basketball has been a sport at Special Olympics World Games since 1968. For information about the Special Olympics World Games go to: https://www.berlin2023.org/en/sports/our-sports