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April 7, 2017 2:57 PM

Conestoga student wins silver at Special Olympics World Games

Conestoga student Allie Libertini finished the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria with two silver medals and a fifth place finish in Nordic skiing. Libertini was one of 110 athletes representing Team Canada. 

Allie Libertini.JPG
CICE student Allie Libertini represented Team Canada at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. She returned to Conestoga with two silver medals and a 5th place finish in Nordic skiing.

The Games were held March 14 to 25 and brought together 3,000 athletes from more than 105 nations. Libertini, who’s been involved with the Special Olympics for seven years, qualified for Team Canada at the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Newfoundland last February. She qualified for the national games by advancing through regional and provincial competitions.

“My mom told me I was going to the World Games and I was so happy,” said Libertini with a wide grin. “I was training all year for it and then went to a training camp in B.C. too. I learned something new there every day.”

Libertini is a student in Conestoga’s Community Integration through Co-operative Education (CICE) program. The innovative two-year certificate program helps students with learning challenges and developmental disabilities achieve their potential and become contributing members of the community. The CICE program includes a number of core courses that include human relations and communications, job and life skills, computer skills and health and wellness. Throughout the program, CICE students also participate in work placements intended to develop and enhance work skills and involvement in the community. The goal is to transition students into volunteer positions or part-time or full-time employment.

In addition to trying to keep ahead of her studies before leaving for the Games, Libertini said she was also feeling nervous about competing. “I didn’t think I could do this, but my coach told me to believe in myself and I did. Everyone was cheering for me at the finish line.”

She also recalled being part of the Parade of Athletes during the Opening Ceremony of the Games and said it was a special memory: “It made me happy to walk in because it was the first time I got to represent my country. I liked that my family was there too.”

She is interested in representing Canada again in the next World Games in 2021, but also wants to encourage others to participate in the Special Olympics because of the experience it offers.

Libertini is finishing her last term at Conestoga and said that although she is happy to be graduating, she will be sad to say good bye to her CICE friends and the learning strategist that works with her, Allison Wells. When she returned from Austria, Libertini made a special trip to the college on a day she didn’t have classes just to share news of her win and to show Wells and other CICE staff and faculty her medals.

“Allie’s been sharing a lot of details about the Games with us,” said Wells. “We think her performance was fantastic and we’re all very proud of her. We’re excited to share her story with the rest of the college community.”

More information about the CICE program is available through the School of Health and Life Sciences and Community Services

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