It's been almost five months since the completion of the World Winter Games in Idaho and almost a year since we first began working on the project but I constantly find myself going back and watching the assorted videos and slide shows from the event. What began as just another language "project" actually ended up having a tremendous impact on how I view people with intellectual disabilities, the nature of sports and competition and even how I view business.
IAL Services was selected as the language services vendor for the event and it proved challenging in many different ways; tight deadlines on the translation of documents, editorial changes, logistical aspects for interpretation of the daily briefings, etc. Nothing that was uniquely different from what we do on a daily basis except that it was rolled into one event that involved over 100 countries and thousands of participants.
At first I was absorbed simply by the mechanics of it and didn't give much consideration to the human, or humanitarian, aspect of these games but on the first day when we actually went "live" I remember sitting here at my desk, close to tears, as I listened to the ceremonies begin. What I first envisioned as simply a sporting event took on something more of a revival and I couldn't wait until the next day to do it all over again. While I admire any athlete who displays talent in a specific sport, I can't express the tremendous respect I have for these individuals who battle physical and intellectual challenges as part of their daily routine. I wasn't alone. Each member of our language team expressed similar emotions throughout the week's events. Thanks to Sunniva and the entire Special Olympics organization for allowing us to be part of something much more important.