The Special Olympics World Winter Games start a week from today, so to start getting everyone excited to cheer on Team USA, I interviewed David Durandisse, the coach of the Unified Floor Hockey team from New York City that will compete in the Games.
The Olympics of Blogs: What are you most excited for about Austria?
David: I’m excited to be visiting Europe and being a part of this huge event. I remember our first practice and now that we are this close to departure, I’m excited to see all the work come together and pay off.
The Olympics of Blogs: How were you chosen to coach the team?
David: I was offered the opportunity to join the team and I accepted.
The Olympics of Blogs: How long has your team been training for the World Games?
David: We have been practicing since September, so about 6 months.
The Olympics of Blogs: How has your team been practicing to prepare for the World Games?
David: We have been conditioning to get their stamina up; live scrimmages to get a feel for the game against opponents. We have done a bunch of drills and live game scenarios to map out what we want to do in games.
The Olympics of Blogs: Will you and your team walk in the Opening Ceremony for Team USA?
David: We will be walking in Opening Ceremonies.
The Olympics of Blogs: Do you think they’ll win gold?
David: I believe we have the players to win gold. We have a combination of size and speed that should work to our advantage to create scoring opportunities. I believe if we can put that together we will surely win gold.
The Olympics of Blogs: After coaching a Unified team, what do you think about Unified sports?
David: Unified sports is a great concept. I have seen two sides come together as one. Individuals who may have not had a chance to come together, now have that opportunity through unified sports. They have created friendships that will last a lifetime.
The Olympics of Blogs: What has been your favorite moment as a coach for Unified Floor Hockey?
David: Hanging out with the team and bonding with the coaches. We all started this journey months ago, and along the way we have shared many laughs on and off the court.
You can watch Team USA’s Unified Floor Hockey team walk in the Opening Ceremony on ABC on March 18 from 2-5 pm ET!