Melissa and Teddy, children from warmer climates, arrived in Pyeongchang in the winter. They are both first-rate inline skaters in Kenya, where they practiced in a less-than-ideal environment and wore skates in poor condition. We follow their journey to Pyeongchang, where they see snow for the first time.
Winter Dreams Enabled by the Dream Program
Melissa and Teddy were flown to this winter retreat as part of the Dream Program, which was established to provide a winter experience for youth from countries without winter sports due to the climate and economic circumstances. A visit to Pyeongchang by the IOC Evaluation Committee coincided with the dates of the Dream Program. Entering its eighth year, the program brought 24 children with disabilities from six countries to Korea this year. Members of the South Korean national squad volunteered to coach the children. Fun program activities included visits to the DMZ Museum, Chamsori Gramophone Museum, Unification Observatory and a water park. The young participants also took taekwondo lessons and had a splendid time at the Dream Party.
Bringing participants closer to their dreams
Upon returning to Kenya, Melissa and Teddy's wonderful experience in the Dream Program came to an abrupt end. But they continued dreaming of becoming short-track speed skaters on ice despite the lack of ice rinks in their country. With their family's support, they entered inline skating competitions to stay in top shape.
Melissa and Teddy weren't the only ones working hard for their Olympic dreams. The Kenyan Inline Skating Association has spent five years launching an ice skating organization. The members were also invited to join the Dream Program, which led them to decide to send a delegation of athletes to the next Winter Olympics.
Dreaming in Pyeongchang
Pyeongchang is dreaming big as it prepares to submit another bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. Despite its failure to secure enough votes in its bids for the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, Pyeongchang has decided to mount a third attempt for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The city has a superior infrastructure in which all sports venues are reachable in under 30 minutes, along with strong backing from the South Korean government. The city also has a successful track record of hosting international winter sports competitions. So let us watch how the dreams of youth in Kenya and South Korea unfold.