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Bob Monette

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(Posted 1:30 p.m., March 28)
Local Special Olympian returns from World Games with three silver medals

By Fred Sherwin
The Orléans Star

Kevin Dooks proudly displays one of the three silver medals he won at the Special Olympic World Winter Games in Austria last week.. Brian Dooks/Photo

The mission statement of the Special Olympics organization is to provide “the opportunity for individuals with intellectual disabilities to discover new strengths, abilities and success through the power of sports and to find joy, confidence and fulfillment both on the playing field and in life.” And in doing so, they “inspire people in their communities and elsewhere to open their hearts to a wider world of human talents and potential.”

Brian Dooks knows this first-hand, both as a coach and as a parent. His son, Kevin, just returned with the rest of the family from the Special Olympics World Games in Austria, where he won a trio of silver medals in snow-shoeing.

“He was ecstatic from beginning to end,” Brian Dooks said in an interview with the Orléans Star shortly after the family returned from Europe. “He always had a smile on his face. He was thrilled. We were over the moon about the whole thing.”

Kevin was part of the Canadian team that boasted 148 athletes, coaches and officials. In total, more than 2,600 athletes from 105 countries took part in the World Winter Games, and each athlete was paired with a local high school student who acted as liaisons.

“It was a fantastic experience,” says Dooks. “The opening ceremonies were a little wet and the first day of competition was rained out, but they managed to get in all the events during the Games. The organization was amazing. I’ve been involved with Special Olympics for 15 years and this was my first World Games and it was just spectacular.”

Orléans Special Olympian Kevin Dooks competes in the snowshoe event at the Special Olympic World Winter Games in Austria last week. Brian Dooks/Photo

Kevin, who is developmentally delayed, has been participating in sports since 2000 when his parents introduced him to bowling – a sport he still does along with track and field. He took up snowshoeing five years ago to replace downhill skiing as a winter activity.

At the time, his parents had no idea how far it would take him, or that he would one day have the chance to represent his country on the international stage.

Kevin earned a berth on the Canadian team after participating in the national Special Olympic Winter Games last year.

His father says the experienec has had postive impact on Kevin’s self-confidence and personality.

“Before taking part in the Special Olympics, Kevin was very much introverted and shy, but since he’s become involved, especially during the past year – taking part in nationals and preparing for the World Games – it’s really brought out his personality a lot,” says Brian Dooks who’s coached at the national level and at a number of provincial Special Olympic Games.

Dooks currently runs a bowling program for individuals with intellectual disabilities at the Orléans Bowling Centre on Monday nights and he coaches track and field.

Parents of children with an intellectual disability who want to find out more about the Special Olympics program should visit the Special Olympics Ontario – Greater Ottawa website at ottawa.specialolympicsontario.ca.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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Posted Jan. 12



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