Interview with Sharyn Harris, Head of Delegation Team Australia
Are you looking forward to the Games in Austria?
Team Australia is very excited to be travelling to Austria for the SOWWG. We have been planning for 18 months for the event. Our national games were held in September 2015 with our team selected shortly after. We have a team of 12 athletes (10 skiers and 2 snowboarders) with most of the team experiencing their first WWG. We are all looking forward to getting back on snow as we are in the middle of summer in Australia with temperatures around 30c. We also very excited to skiing on mountains that are much bigger than we have in Australia and are hoping for some good snow conditions.
How do you prepare?
Team Australia has been preparing for Austria for the last 12 months. After our athletes were selected we selected our coaching staff and began to communicate with our athletes that are spread over half of Australia. We had a team training and racing camp in August 2016 where our athletes competed along-side other disabled athletes. As it is now summer and our athletes have continued to train off-snow in preparation for the games.
What do you hope of achieving during the Games?
Team Australia hopes to achieve their personal bests at the games. We have athletes with a wide range of abilities and it will be fantastic for them to be competing against athletes of similar abilities from around the world. It will be the first international competition for many of our athletes and we hope they enjoy the experience. Most importantly we want our athletes to complete their events safely and with confidence.
Have you been to Austria before?
A few of the Team have been to Austria before but not many have travelled to Austria in winter or skied in Austria. For some of our athletes this will be their first big trip overseas. As it will take us more than 24 hrs to travel from Australia to Austria, and we are changing from summer to winter, it is very challenging for the Team. It will be great to see the Austrian alps as the tallest mountain in Australia is only just over 2200m high and we are all hoping for good snow conditions while the games are on.
Is there anything you would like the fans of Special Olympics to know?
Team Australia is very honoured to be able to compete at the SOWWG Austria 2017 and we hope our athletes can achieve their personal best.
written by Sophie Marak (University of Applied Sciences Graz)