From physical to social benefits, sports make a difference for people of all abilities
Saturday is a day to celebrate the power of inclusion in sports.
From the physical benefits to the relationships formed, they have a powerful ability to make a big difference in the lives of people of all ages and benefits.
Two Olympians joined CTV Morning Live Friday, a day before the Global Day of Inclusion, to talk about how sports have made a difference in their lives.
Susan Wang, a Special Olympics athlete who was given the Spirit of Canada 150 Award for her achievements, won one gold and two bronze medals in the 2016 Winter Games.
"Sports have given me the confidence to tackle everyday life, and it has made me who I am today," the Surrey resident said.
Rosalind Groenewoud, a freestyle skier who competed for Team Canada in 2014 and lives in Squamish, said sports has been a lifelong commitment for her.
"I think now that I'm retired, I've been able to reflect on just how many wonderful things it's brought to me," she said.
"One of the best things is the friends that I've made."
While Wang and Groenewoud are professionals, but those who aren't athletes at that level can still reap the rewards.
"Anyone can play sports. It doesn't matter if you're really good or not, it's just so much fun to be able to meet different kinds of people and to compete," Wang said.
Sports can also teach skills that apply to other areas of life.
For example, Groenewoud said, participating in a sport can teach dedication and problem-solving skills.
"Especially in a sport like mine, we spend so much time trying to figure things out, and that applies to the rest of life – really being able to address those little issues," she said.
She said she doesn't miss the injuries since retirement, but she does miss having a goal to focus her thinking around. The skier will soon be setting her sights on a different goal as she starts medical school in the fall.
Wang is staying in touch with her friends from previous competitions, and is training to compete again next year, she said.
Canadians can buy a Day of Inclusion doughnut at Tim Hortons Saturday, with proceeds going toward the Special Olympics.