"Taking part is everything" - that's the Olympic idea. At the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin in June, you could feel that everywhere. Thousands of athletes with intellectual and multiple disabilities competed in 26 sports at the world's largest inclusive sports event. Whether on the field, in the audience or in the catering area, the atmosphere among all participants was exuberant, appreciative and, above all, motivating.
"We were overwhelmed by the impressions," the thyssenkrupp Volunteers team agreed, happily reporting that they quickly became known as a very helpful team in the catering area. The team consisted of Udo Petrack, representative for severely disabled employees, Patrick Rack, deputy representative for severely disabled employees at thyssenkrupp Automotive Body Solutions GmbH in Heilbronn, and Jana Eisenhuth-Krohm, representative for severely disabled employees at thyssenkrupp Dynamic Components GmbH in Ilsenburg. Together they were among the 18,000 volunteers who worked together in tandem teams: People with and people without disabilities formed a team, supported each other, and relieved each other when their strength waned. "Working together like this is also an example of inclusion in practice. And that's exactly what we want to achieve at thyssenkrupp," the volunteers said.
This was the reason why the three of them applied for the Special Olympics World Games: "We wanted to think outside the box and experience inclusion outside of thyssenkrupp," the volunteers report. After all, you can only evaluate inclusion concepts if you have worked with them yourself. They add: "We can learn a lot from the Special Olympics for our business world. And if we can ensure that inclusion, equality and social participation for people with disabilities are not just words, but are lived in all areas, then we are on the right track".
At the Special Olympics World Games, the strengths of each individual and the support with which the tasks can be completed were examined on a very individual basis. The same was true for the athletes: It was hardly a question of whether everything succeeded and who was the winner at the end. In contrast to the classic Olympic Games, there are not only bronze, silver and gold, but a total of 10 winners' podiums. This shows: The emphasis is on appreciation and recognition of performance and effort. The thyssenkrupp team states: "The athletes radiated pure joie de vivre. There was a celebration of their sport, and the idea of a meritocracy, which is so often a limitation for us, had no place here.
The thyssenkrupp volunteer team agrees that the effort was worthwhile: "It was nice to see that social participation is not just for the athletes. It showed us very clearly: In the business world, too, we have to focus on what is possible. Rather than what is not possible. The commitment of the people at the Special Olympic World Games gives us hope: We are on the right track when it comes to inclusion.