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Racers ready: Athletes prepare for alpine skiing event, sponsored by EY

February 5, 2024

Racers ready: Athletes prepare for alpine skiing event, sponsored by EY

Blink and you just might miss the athletes racing down the snow-covered slopes at WinSport, competing in alpine skiing at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Calgary 2024. Alpine, or downhill, skiing includes three events at the Games – the Giant Slalom, the Super G and the Slalom.

The leg-burning, heart-pounding action becomes a thrill that hooks some athletes from the beginning.

My parents first got me involved in [Special Olympics] in 2015 in one winter and one summer sport to meet other people and try new activities. I quickly loved alpine skiing, and it has become a passion,” said Courtney Riep of Team Alberta.

As proud sponsors of the alpine skiing event for Calgary 2024, EY supports the empowerment of every athlete in meeting their potential. EY prioritizes a culture of belonging, understanding that diversity and inclusivity are strengths and the key to a winning team.

That’s something that Jacquie Trudeau from Team Manitoba knows well. Trudeau proudly represented Special Olympics Canada at the X Games in 2023, partnering with pro-X Games athlete, Tom Wallisch, in the Unified Skiing event. Her experience at the X Games is sure to help as she takes on alpine skiing in Calgary.

“Sport is a powerful, unifying force that brings people together, evokes a sense of community and rallies us all behind a common goal,” said Alison Jackson, Managing Partner at EY’s Calgary office. “That’s why at EY, we’re proud to sponsor the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games, and continue working towards empowering every athlete in realizing their sporting aspirations.”

For athlete Michael Qing of Team Saskatchewan, the games in Calgary will be his first time competing on snow with Special Olympics, but he’s far from new to competition. Qing holds numerous Special Olympics swim records and has won many gold medals, including five titles from the 2014 Special Olympics National Summer Games. Come February, he’ll be trading in the swimming pool for the slopes.

For many athletes, topping the podium at the Games isn’t the ultimate goal.

By making me feel that I belong, Special Olympics gives me confidence everyday in everything I do. Special Olympics is not just about sports, it’s about life.” It’s a reminder that success at the Games, and in life, comes in many forms,” said Matthew Fields of Team Ontario.

As athletes complete their final training sessions before their journey to Calgary, the city looks forward to welcoming participants and their support teams. Alpine Skiing sponsor EY recognizes that true belonging involves the acceptance, embrace and appreciation of differences, and Calgary is prepared to wholeheartedly support every athlete in their race to reach their full potential.

“From investment, infrastructure and mentorship, there are many actions organizations can take to build a more inclusive and equitable sporting environment in Canada”, says Robert Mitchell, EY Canada Partner and Leader of the EY AccessAbilities Network in Calgary. “Through thoughtful and proactive measures, we can all play a role in dismantling barriers to help foster equity for all athletes.”

The Games will open February 27 and run through to March 2.

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