Mary Wells with Team Canada at Special Olympics World Summer Games





Record Staff

Courtenay’s Mary Wells is off to Athens for the Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Canada’s team, a strong delegation of 146 members, including 106 athletes, is looking forward to the June 25 to July 4 competition. Supported by 40 volunteer coaches and mission staff, the Canadian athletes are competing in seven sports over the nine-day competition, including athletics, powerlifting, soccer, softball, swimming, rhythmic gymnastics and 10-pin bowling. They represent all 10 provinces as well as the Northwest Territories.

Wells is competing in athletics. Her Team Canada bio notes she has been involved with Special Olympics for the past 11 years. She is honoured to represent Canada at her first World Games in Athens, Greece, birthplace of the modern Olympic movement. In addition to athletics, Wells participates in floor hockey, five-pin bowling and softball.

Being part of Special Olympics has taught her about proper health and nutrition and allows her to stay fit through her rigorous training program. Wells also enjoys meeting other athletes and coaches.

Wells attends North Island College and works at Bridges in the supported employment program. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, hiking, walking and gardening.

If she could choose anyone in the world to be her teammate it would be “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky, because he is an excellent athlete and a good role model. To prepare for competition, Wells closely follows her training program, in which health and proper nutrition are key elements.

Her goal: to do her very best in every event she competes in.

Billed as the world’s largest sporting event this year, the XIII Special Olympics World Summer Games will unite an anticipated 7,500 athletes from as many as 185 countries.

“It doesn’t get any bigger than this within the Special Olympics community, and for members of Team Canada, the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games will be an incredible opportunity to compete at an international event, some for the very first time,” said Sharon Bollenbach, vice-president of sport with Special Olympics Canada.

“Among the top in their field, they have worked incredibly hard for the opportunity to represent Canada in Athens, and we know that they will make our country proud.”

Athletes on the national team are a mix of veterans and others who will compete for the very first time. Each has moved through successive levels of competition to qualify; first provincials, then nationals. It was at the 2010 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games, held in July 2010, that athletes qualified for selection for the 2011 national team.

Since their selection was announced last September, the athletes have been following the national training program, officially launched in 1998 with the support of founding partner Toyota Canada. A model for programs across North and South America, the training program gives athletes a formalized approach to training and preparing for world games.

Athletes committed to training a minimum of three times per week, taking part in all aspects of the conditioning and training program: physical and mental training; committing to a healthy lifestyle; attending all team functions, including sport-specific training camps and staging; and acting as role models for other Special Olympics athletes, both on and off the field of play.

For more information on Team Canada, including profiles and daily results and updates after June 25, please visit Fans are also encouraged to send messages of good luck and support through this site.