For Hear the World, May 2014 was all about the Special Olympics – the Olympic Games for people with intellectual and multiple disabilities. Düsseldorf in Germany and the Swiss city of Bern each played host to their country’s national Summer Games, which took place over the course of several days. Emotions ran high in these sporting contests as the athletes competed against one another across a wide variety of sports, including cycling, athletics and petanque. The focus here was not just on winning, but also – most importantly – on having fun and enjoying the chance to take part.
15 Sonova employees, who were doing voluntary work at the competitions, witnessed all the fun and excitement at first hand. In their various roles, they helped ensure that the athletes could enjoy an unforgettable experience.
SHARING THE ATHLETES’ EXCITEMENT IN BERN
In Bern, Hannes and Daria were each part of a team in their capacity as Delegation Assistant Liaison. During the four-day event, they supported the athletes, cheered them on and kept their fingers crossed for them. They both came away from this unique experience with very positive impressions: “I particularly like the fact that here it’s the taking part that counts. The athletes live by the motto ‘one for all, all for one.’ I found it really inspiring to be here and experience it up close,” said Hannes.
Also sampling the atmosphere at first hand were the nine members of the finish line and medal crew. Their duties meant they were closely involved in one of the Games’ many highlights – the medal ceremonies – and they could not fail to be moved by the athletes’ emotions.
520 HEARING SCREENINGS IN DÜSSELDORF
The “Healthy Athletes” program is a firm fixture at Special Olympics events, and “Healthy Hearing” is one of seven areas the program covers with the aim of promoting health and preventing health problems. The Hear the World Foundation has been an official partner of the “Healthy Hearing” scheme since 2011, donating hearing aids to athletes with treatable hearing loss and organizing free follow-up care. In Düsseldorf, three employees from Sonova Germany volunteered their services and played an active role in ensuring that 520 hearing screenings were carried out without a glitch. “This gave me the opportunity to help people regain a little bit of their quality of life,” said Oliver from Phonak Germany.
The Special Olympics were a resounding success in every respect: all the athletes went back home with a smile on their faces – no matter who won what medal.