The Special Olympics World Winter Games marked the largest international sporting and humanitarian event of the year, with more than 2,000 athletes from almost 100 countries. But, unlike other sporting events of this magnitude, you cannot tune in from home. Major media outlets, especially overseas, just don’t have the budgets to cover the World Games. It’s a shame because the drama, passion and competitive spirit on display at the Special Olympics are unrivaled.
In 2007, former UNC professor and current Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the University of Miami Rich Beckman spearheaded the one of the largest multimedia projects of any kind with his coverage of the 2007 World Games in China. For the 2009 site, Beckman led a wonderful team of student journalists from UNC and Miami. Coaches include New York Times’ Nancy Donaldson, Open Society Institutes’ Pam Chen, multimedia guru Mike Schmidt, Jim Virga from the University of Miami and our own Pat Davison.
This year’s site was equally ambitious, including several daily features such as documentaries (mind-boggling but yes somehow 6-7 documentaries were produced every day), a 10-minute webcast narrated by public radio veteran Nick Vidinsky, photos of the day and video highlights from each event. Perhaps most impressive and most important to the mission of the project, every single athlete has a homepage with photos and video from their time at the Games.
Please check out Special Olympics Live, if for no other reason than to get to know a little bit more about some really fantastic athletes. Learn more about the Special Olympics and ways to involved with the Games at http://www.specialolympics.org.