Special Olympics World Games Blog

Special Olympics World Games Blog

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Nicole D: Today I interviewed athletes from Austria, Nepal, Finland, Mauritania, Germany, Switzerland and the U.S. and met athletes from dozens more. It was incredible to work in tandem with translators from each country and more incredible yet to learn a spontaneous yet eerily universal sign language. If today is any indicator of the days to come, tomorrow can’t come soon enough.

Amanda: Today was a great experience, we started surveying the athletes and just to feel what it takes to go up to the teams to talk with them was definitely a learning process. Also to be able to communicate to athletes with a langue barrier through their translators was a great learning experience. Just to see what words will translate and which ones will not and the process of doing so/ trying to figure out a way to help them understand was interesting.

Lauren: Today has been one of the best days since I have been here. I have had the time to meet athletes and hear their stories. I have met individuals from Isle of Man, Cyria, Lichtenstein, Netherlands, Norway and more. I did not know where some of these places were and my eyes have certainly been opened. I am shocked at how friendly everyone is and I cannot explain how happy I am to be here. I find the language barriers interesting because it makes life a huge game of charades. Even when we do not fully understand everyone, we can understand laughs and actions. Today, I saw a small Chinese boy with a bloody nose and his mom was hovering over him with a bottle of water and using it to try and clean his nose. I happened to have two tissues in my pocket so I offered them to the mother. I believe she said thank you in her language and I didn’t need to understand her words, I simply knew the actions and offered my assistance. We do not need to be similar in the obvious ways to be together here because we all share the same understanding of cooperation and sincerity.

Janie: My day has been beyond amazing. I talked with so many athletes from so many different countries. My Spanish was even tested when I spoke to a table full of athletes from Spain. It was so great talking with an Italian athlete because they were so welcoming to me. It was such a relief to get to talk with people who couldn’t help but smile. I have said it before that I could not wait to see the face of an athlete as they won an award, and it was so amazing to see an athlete win. The athlete that I spoke with from Argentina won an award today, and although they didn’t speak enough English to be a part of the study, I felt so much joy watching him receive his medal. I am just in awe of these athletes. They are so joyful, and I’m loving every minute of it.

Alyssa: My day was a great day. I met so many wonderful people with amazing stories. These athletes are beyond amazing. The things they have gone through, and go through everyday aren’t easy, yet they still have a love for sports and meeting new people. They are so accepting, and warm to everyone, and they show a kindness and goodness towards everyone that the rest of the world could benefit from imitating. I feel so honored to even be in the same room as these people, and to get to talk to them is life-changing.

Peter: Today was a good day. It was definitely hard stepping out of my comfort zone, but it paid off. I was able to collect some data and the only bad that came out of it were some people didn’t want to participate. It is also great that all the people we have met so far have been very polite. All you have to do is break the ice and start talking.

Morgan: I had a whirlwind of a day. We got some good interviews in with various countries and I really enjoyed talking with them. I loved eating some regular food and I had some regular potato chips! It was fun getting to see some of the athletes compete as well and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Devon: Today was a very interesting day. It was a definitely a day of trial and error, but a lot of good things came out of it. After figuring out the best places and ways to communicate with the athletes, things began to run much more smoothly. For being the first day of data collection, the results were better than I expected. Many countries that we interviewed were more than willing to help and had excellent translators available. I was also pleased that so many countries were offering to help out on a different day and set up times to do so.

Nicole J: I am happy I have had the opportunity to spend some time with all of our team. It has given me the chance to get to know everyone on the team a little better. Today was also the first day of data collection. We have several obstacles in our efforts but I have faith that it will work out by the end of the week. We have a great team and have a goal that we are wanting to attain.

Hilary: Today was a great day; I got to eat some great junk food. It was nice to finally have a Hershey’s bar, some Korean Doritos, and a Coke. The food I ate today made me miss the traditions and customs of home. However, I did have a great day getting to know a lot of the athletes from the various countries that are participating in the Special Olympics. Some of them were telling me what they missed most about home so I did get to connect with on that level. It was nice to talk about our countries and traditions that we all miss about our home countries.
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