Western University welcomed guests from Special Olympics Canada today to honour Special Olympics founder and Western alumnus Frank J. Hayden and to announce a gift in the area of sport research. This was the 50th anniversary Canadian gold medalist Mark Tewksbury was in attendance to help honour Hayden. Tewksbury who won gold for Canada in the 100 metre backstroke at 1992 Barcelona games. There were plenty of guest speakers including Western president Amit Chakma and Frank Hayden himself.
Frank Hayden who has had plenty of experience working with athletes with disabilities over the course of his career was greeted with jubilation and excitement. Hayden who was a former Western grad and faculty member will be honoured a chair in his name.
Tewksbury who is also a chair memeber on the Special Olympics said that he has seen the Special Olympics come a long way., “I have seen it grow, I have been involved for on and off for over 30 years but especially the last 10 years very much in Canada and it keeps going to more countries “. Tewksbury also adds that countries who 30 or 40 years ago who did not even acknowledge athletes with disabilities are now participating in the Special Olympics.
Hayden who was born in Windsor but grew up in St. Catharines Ontario says that the Special Olympics needs to put more research and have a larger outreach on athletes “we need to make a better effort at least in some areas as well of reaching out to more people, somewhere between 3 and 5 % of the population in the world have serious mental handicap” he also says that he hopes to see every country in the world acknowledge mental handicap.
Hayden has also worked alongside the Kennedy family in Boston, and says that coming back to Western is always fun for him