Tales from Korea #4

Just a quick update to tell you that due to heavy rain today’s skiing has been cancelled. The team is obviously gutted as they are all raring to go but on the flip side, it has given them some much-needed (and wanted) quality time with their families.

It should be business as usual tomorrow (Saturday) according to Mr Weatherman. In the meantime, here is some footage I recieved from SOGB HQ of the team coming out at the opening ceremony – enjoy!

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Tales from Korea #3

Sorry it’s been a couple of days since my last update. A combination of lack of internet, moving from the Host Town to Alpensia (where we shall now remain) and an epic opening ceremony have resulted in no blog for a while – sorry!

The opening ceremony was of epic proportions; five hours of magical technicolor, oriental flair and storytelling and some mesmerising choreography (and yes Gangnam Style did feature!). Here’s a few pics…

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It all started with the athletes parade and while I felt a bit of a phony walking out with the team (it was their moment), I was truly honoured and it was an experience I will never ever forget. I shot this video of the team walking out; apologies for the poor filming…

This is going to sound really cheesy but the arena was full of so much love and joy; high fives were in abundance, big smiles all around, laughter, cheers and cuddles – I have never seen anything like it. I’m sure all of you back home are aware of the sheer breadth of Special Olympics across the globe, but it’s only when you attend a World Games that you see how huge they actually are. Special Olympics are surely the world’s biggest (and best) kept secret – how something so international, diverse, multi-cultural, inspiring, heart-warming and downright cool can happen with almost zero media coverage is unbelievable.

Candy gave us all some SOGB pin badges which we could use to swap with other teams to build a collection and pin on our credentials passes.  It’s a bit of a Special Olympics tradition and the team (and myself) had great fun approaching the other teams to swap badges. It was like being back in the school playground with footy stickers! I also set up my own little challenge, to get as many photos of other Special Olympics’ emblems as I could during the course of the ceremony. I didn’t do too badly did I?

See you soon!



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Tales from Korea #2

I thought I would treat you all to not one, but two very special performances…

First up is a performance by the Special Olympics New Zealand team of the Haka which was absolutely amazing. The guys done this just after dinner on our second night and it was incredible. See for yourself…

As a thank you, we promised to perform ‘Trip of a Lifetime’ for them in return. After two practice runs (which sounded bloody brilliant I should add) in my room, we went out and did it for the New Zealand team in the corridor. See the video below…

For those of you who haven’t heard the recorded version of ‘Trip of a Lifetime’, I’ve included it in this entry for your convenience.

On a final note, we have some BIG news to tell you but you’ll have to wait until later in the week to find out…




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posted by Candy

It’s 4.50am and I’m wide awake! Night skiing is still going on outside my bedroom window (it ends at 5.00am!)

After lunch today I head for Alpensia (where we will be staying for the race week) The rest of the team will be leaving for Alpensia after breakfast tomorrow morning.

This afternoon I have a long  HOD meeting so hope to find out details about Tuesday’s Opening Ceremony etc.

We will be meeting the British Ambassador (Scott Wightman) before the Opening Ceremony.

Yesterday evening, after dinner, we practiced singing Trip of a Lifetime with Rob playing guitar – I may be biased, but it sounded great and we sang it to our New Zealand friends.

Better try and get a bit more sleep – long day ahead.



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Tales from Korea #1

It’s been an action packed 48 hours; coaches, buses, planes, 5,519 miles, media cameras, gifts, fireworks, the Haka and the pink panther singing Muse… but let’s rewind back to Thursday 24th…

We met at the Park Inn Hotel (near Heathrow) at 1.30pm where a coach took us to the Korean Ambassador’s special residency.

The team was in high spirits and looked fighting fit in their tracksuits.

Ready for it!

Ready for it!

On Thursday 24 January, we were given a warm welcome by His Excellency Ambassador Park and Madam Shin who put on a delightful spread of tea, sandwiches and cream cakes.

They even made two special cakes to celebrate the bond between the two nations.

You don't get these from Gregg's

Special delivery from Gregg’s


Sky Sports and ITV popped down for a cuppa and a slice of cake too, ITV even wrote a lovely article about it which you can read  if you click here

The team exchanged gifts with His Excellency, signed the guest book and hopped back on the coach to the hotel where Gaye Barber, National Volunteering Manager Special Olympics GB read out some good luck messages from David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Sir Alex, Arsene Wenger, Martin Jol and Ed Miliband.

Who are these people?

Who are these people?

Can you guess who the three good luck messages are from in the photo?

It was then time for dinner, showers and bed before our big flight tomorrow…

Our flight was certainly an international affair, we were joined by Special Olympic teams from Belgium, Netherlands, Norway and San Marino.




Here’s Mikael with one of the athletes from Special Olympics Belgium before we took off.

Mikael and Special Olympics Belgium athlete

Mikael and Special Olympics Belgium athlete

Flight was lovely, we got upgraded to Premium Economy so the extra leg room made all the difference. We arrived in Korea at 9am local time, the sun was shining, the snow was pure white – it looked incredible. The airport looked like a Special Olympics Airport, we bumped into a lot of other athletes including Special Olympics Venezuela.

Bobby and Venezuela

Bobby and Venezuela

Once through customs and we had collected our luggage, we were greeted by cameras, cheers and big welcome signs which was lovely. We were straight onto the bus and taken to the Welcome Centre for some gifts, more cheers, lunch and a game of dress up.

Elizabeth and Wayne while Mikael flirts with the local ladies

Elizabeth and Wayne while Mikael flirts with the local ladies

It was then back onto the coach for a two-hour journey to Vivaldi Park where we are currently staying for two days. We were greeted this time by music, of two very different sorts I must say. The first song was delivered by a Korean bloke dressed as the Pink Panther singing a Muse song through a walkie-talkie – I kid you not!

I couldn’t resist a photo.

Me and Matt Bellamy aka the Pink Panther

Me and Matt Bellamy aka the Pink Panther

Next up was a song from the Special Olympics New Zealand team who we are sharing the same floor with in Vivaldi Park. They’re a lovely bunch and wrote a song which went to the tune of Sweet Chariot, little do they know that we have our own little song up our sleeves…


We had a lovely meal that evening with the Kiwi’s and were treated to a special performance of the Haka after our dinner which was mind-blowing. It was certainly a day of treats as we were then told that the hotel had arranged for a fireworks display especially for us which we watched from our balconies overlooking the slopes – a fitting end to our first day in Korea.


It was then off to bed for a good night’s rest and to hopefully get rid of our jet lag. Everyone is in fine spirits and ready to hit the slopes for two days of intense training with Keith, Shaun and Alex.




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Tomorrow we start our Trip of a Lifetime

posted by Candy

Tomorrow the GB Team all head to London – not as easy as it sounds with the weather we’ve been having over the past few days!

We have been invited to a reception at the Korean Ambassador’s residence in the afternoon – this is a great homour for us all, and we look forward to meeting His Excellency Ambassador Park.

We then head back to the Park Inn to go through last minute arrangements and good luck messages before dinner.

Friday morning we take the shuttle bus to Terminal 5  – fingers crossed that the weather will be better than last Friday at Heathrow!

We hope to post some photos of our meeting with the Ambassador tomorrow evening, and once we are settled in South Korea you should find daily updates and photos on this site.

Thank you for all the good luck messages that have been sent to us.


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Good Luck Messages

Posted by Andrea- On behalf of Special Olympics GB

We are receiving many good luck messages for our World Winter Games GB team, so we have created a separate page in this blog as a good luck message board…

To see all the messages click here. Please feel free to add your own Good Luck  message as a comment on  our message board.

Thank You for your Support!

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Thank you to all our coaches

posted by Candy

A huge thank you to all the coaches who have helped prepare our skiers for the World Winter Games – you have all done a superb job, and I know that Keith and Shaun really apreciate all the hard work that you have put in.

Proudest moment of my life, being allowed to help and participate in the Special Olympics GB Ski Team, I have met some great Athletes and people. Thank you all

We hope that you’ll all be watching the progress of our athletes through this blog.
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GB Team poem

posted by Candy

Gaye Barber wrote this poem for our GB Team in the autumn and suggested it might be nice to have someone from South Korea to read the poem for us on video.

This is the link to the video:-


The poem is read by Ha-Nah who lives and works in Warwick – Ha-Nah is the daughter of Chung Hee who has supported our skiers in many ways (including translating our names into Korean for our name badges and our WWG tea-towels)

A big thank you to Gaye, Ha-Nah and Chung Hee.


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Trip of a Lifetime

posted by Candy

Some of you will already know that Rob Powell from CMS Cameron McKenna wrote and recorded a song with some of his work colleagues for our GB Team in December.

This is the link for viewing the video

I’m sure you’ll all agree that they’ve done a great job.

A big thank you to all involved at CMS.



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