Olympiacos Piraeus has reacted quickly and worked hard to overcome obstacles and deliver its new program for One Team, Euroleague Basketball's continent-wide social responsibility initiative, as much as possible during these days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Greek club was forced to abandon plans to hold last week's session with the 2nd Special Piraeus EEEK School and the 1st Special Elementary Perama School on the court at the Peace and Friendship Stadium, with indoor activities not allowed.
That did not stop Olympiacos from supporting its young One Team athletes, however. Instead, the activity took place outside at the Special Piraeus Schools facility, abiding by all the necessary security measures to provide a fun and educational experience for the athletes.
The main focus of the session was personal responsibility during a pandemic. Specifically designed exercises and games prepared by the club's coaches emphasized the importance of social distancing, not only to safeguard the health of ourselves and our families, but also to avoid transmitting the virus.
Olympiacos One Team Manager Penny Giovanovits explains that it was not easy to relocate the One Team operation, but it was definitely worth the extra effort.
"The first step was to communicate with the schools, check out what is permitted and their availability in order to move fast," she said.
"The second obstacle was to find a court inside the school, so we gained the permission of the high school directors to use their open court. But we could not combine both groups, so we had to arrange a new visit to the elementary school on another date. Before the session, we had to move safely two people in each car with all the equipment that we needed to maintain a high quality for the drills, which we adapted for two baskets instead of the usual four.
"The pandemic has weakened our movements and our sociability, but the most important thing is that everybody had a great will to continue our sessions, and that was a big motivation. At the end of the day the effort of each individual makes the team stronger, and overcoming new challenges brings pure satisfaction to our hearts!"
One Team, supported by Turkish Airlines as the One Team Founding Patron and with the collaboration of Special Olympics as Proud Partner, uses basketball to achieve meaningful social impact in our communities across Europe and is supported by every club in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup. Since its founding in 2012, the One Team program has already helped more than 22,000 participants through its various team-focused projects.