Run Emilda!

Emilda’s first race is today. It’s at 10 a.m. Greece time, which is 1 a.m. MDT. Her division races are scheduled through June 29. If Emilda wins in these, she qualifies to continue running for a chance to win medals.

girl running on a track

This is the Panathenaic Stadium which was the site of last night’s Opening Ceremonies.

overhead view of stadium surrounded by city

The stadium is in the center of Athens and was reconstructed from the remains of an ancient Greek stadium. It played host to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and is the only stadium in the world built entirely of white marble.

Emilda and her Filipino teammates marched proudly along with 7,500 other special athletes from 185 countries.

We know this because we have a team in Greece with Emilda.

  • Chuck Bigger, the man responsible for many of the photographs you’ve come to associate with Compassion
  • Leanna Summers, the editor of Compassion Magazine
  • Jeff Arnold, videographer extraordinnarie

Before “Team Emilda” went to Greece, they met up with our star in the Philippines.

You can also view each of these videos about Emilda’s journey to the Special Olympics on Vimeo.

29 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Jacquie Parella July 13, 2011

    Hi All! Emilda received the bronze medal for the 200 meter dash. She finished only .01 of a second off from receiving the silver! You can see a photo of her getting her medal on our Facebook page. 🙂

  2. zhazha July 13, 2011

    you can see Emilda’s pistures together with the other athletes at Specialolympics Philippinesteam Faccebook..tnx

  3. Bethany July 12, 2011

    There is a post on Compassion’s facebook page with a photo of her receiving a bronze medal, i think for the 200 meter but dont quote me on that. Take a look at the page 🙂

  4. Marvin July 8, 2011

    How did she do in all the races?

  5. zhazha July 2, 2011

    I’ve met Emilda..!!! She’s doing good,jolly and friendly.. But unfortunately we haven’t watch her game…=( congratulations Philippine Team..!!!!

  6. Garry July 1, 2011

    From these posts, I am not sure if Emilda’s mom is there or not, but I am hoping Emilda does great. Can’t wait to see some video.

  7. bibaw June 29, 2011

    hi! do you have any more videos of her journey to Greece or any of the track events? God speed Emilda kag birahi ang pag dalagan halong gid !!! 🙂

    1. Jacquie Parella June 29, 2011

      Nothing yet, sorry!

  8. Leanna Summers June 29, 2011

    All public transportation (buses and subways) has ground to a halt. A large portion of downtown Athens is closed off now due to the strikes, so taxis have to take us around the square in a huge traffic jam, or we are forced to walk through the main square where there are remnants (and the smell) of tear gas, trash, graffiti, broken glass, paint bombs, etc. everywhere.

    Despite this, organizers of the Special Olympics are determined to get children, families, coaches, and media to the different venues to watch/compete in the games.

    This morning we were able to catch a bus—the only bus running today, we were told—to get us to the Special Olympics.

    Inside the stadium, political conflicts and difficulties seems to disappear as people from more 185 countries around the world are cheering on their athletes, and athletes are cheering one another on and trading pins, hats, and t-shirts with one another so that they have a great mix of wear from around the world to remember this inspiring event.

    Emilda competed in the 200m today.

    1. Sherry W. June 29, 2011

      Leanna – thanks for the update!

  9. Chris Giovagnoni June 29, 2011

    There is now a public worker’s strike in Greece, so most subways and buses aren’t running. Violence had escalated yesterday because the Greek government plans to vote on the austerity measures today.

    Emilda ran in her relay yesterday. Leanna says it’s very inspiring to watch the kids participate. Some of them can barely walk, but they are competing!

    Today the only buses running are the Olympic buses to the stadium to get the kids, families, coaches, and media to the event.

    Despite the violence, everyone is committed to getting these kids to their events. They’ve made such amazing journeys to get here.

  10. Chris Giovagnoni June 28, 2011

    Emilda came in sixth in her 100m preliminary race.

  11. Bethany June 28, 2011

    [quote comment=”29297″]Oops! Totally read that wrong….. Thanks for clearing it up for me! I sure hope Emilda wasn’t scared without her Mom there…..[/quote]
    i copied this out of the previouse blog about Emilda.

    “The Greek Embassy told Vilma and our Philippines staff that it wasn’t possible for her to get a passport or visa. She has no birth certificate, no identity. Many would say she has no dignity or purpose.

    But we chose to hope. After months of paperwork and meetings and even a special plane journey to Manila to meet face-to-face with Greek officials, Vilma got her birth certificate, her passport and a visa to see Emilda compete!

    Vilma does not own a suitcase, an extra pair of shoes, or more than a few shirts and pants. Mai, the director of Salem Student Center where Emilda attends, has been gathering clothing donations for Vilma so that she will have clothes to wear while she is in Greece.”

    1. Becky June 28, 2011

      Bethany, unfortunately, the blog entry about Vilma’s visa being approved includes an update from June 27 that Vilma’s visa was denied at the bottom of the article. She is not in Greece with her daughter sadly. The author’s additional comment on the blog (16th and currently final comment) mentions that Emilda’s coach and center director are both with her in Greece.

  12. Bethany June 28, 2011

    [quote comment=”29296″]Hi Michelle! Emilda’s Visa was approved but her mother, Vilma’s was not. Hope that helps clarify. Jacquie[/quote]
    According to that blog post… it says her mom was able to get her birth certificate, passport and visas. so she is there with her 🙂

  13. Debbie Beghetto June 27, 2011

    I’m happy for Emilda to join the race… God bless her and may she give all her strength to reach her goal, her dream and her glory. Amen.

  14. Alyssa June 27, 2011

    cool.I am praying for her.

  15. Michelle June 27, 2011

    Oops! Totally read that wrong….. Thanks for clearing it up for me! I sure hope Emilda wasn’t scared without her Mom there…..

  16. Michelle June 27, 2011

    Someone just posted on this blog:

    It said that Emilda didn’t get her Visa approved? Maybe something should be posted to that blog?

    1. Jacquie Parella June 27, 2011

      Hi Michelle! Emilda’s Visa was approved but her mother, Vilma’s was not. Hope that helps clarify. Jacquie

  17. Chris Giovagnoni June 27, 2011

    The lates update from Leanna is that Emilda has competed in the 200m race. And tomorrow she will compete in the relay race.

    She doesn’t know the schedule beyond that, but Emilda will also have a 100m preliminary race at some point this week.

    The race schedule is shared with the team the morning of the events, but Emilda’s coach did get the schedule for tomorrow already.

    If Emilda does well enough in any of her races, time wise, then she qualifies to go on to the races where she can win medals.

    However, well enough depends on how the kids in the other heats do. We’ll have to wait and see if she was fast enough to continue on.

  18. Michelle June 27, 2011

    Yay Emilda!!!! Run Emilda Ruuuun!!!! :o)

  19. mary rose salo June 27, 2011

    goodluck Emilda!

  20. Debra Martin June 27, 2011

    I’m so excited for Emilda “Run Emilda Run” God speed!!!

  21. Chris Giovagnoni June 26, 2011

    Earlier today, I heard from Leanna that Emilda did not race today.
    She said the opening ceremony ran hours late and the kids didn’t get to bed until around 4 in the morning.

    Emilda is supposed to compete tomorrow. She will compete in the relay race, too. So, she is doing the 100M, 200M and relay.

    The division games this week are to see if Emilda qualifies
    to compete in the “real” games where medals are awarded. The medal games occur after June 29.

    So, if she runs okay this week, then she will be put in a
    group of athletes who have similar running times, and they will all compete during the medal games after June 29.

  22. Lisa Miles June 26, 2011

    So exciting! I just hope that the whole group has a wonderful experience.

  23. Jill Foley – Compassion Family June 26, 2011

    This story is so touching and so exciting. It’s fun to see behind the scenes. Can’t wait to see and hear more.

  24. Mike Stephens June 26, 2011


  25. Marvin June 26, 2011

    nice videos…I pray she does well…!

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