'Special Olympics Athletes are an inspiration' - Natalia Vodianova

January 15, 2014

Top model, actress and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova launches Young Athlete Program in France

natalia vod ya

Natalia Vodianova at the Young Athlete Program launch in Paris

Official Launch in Paris

Leading international model, actress, philanthropist and dedicated supporter of Special Olympics, Natalia Vodianova officially launched the Special Olympics France Young Athlete Program. Almost 20 Young Athletes and their families took part in the fun filled event which took place at the  IME 'LA ROSERAIE' - which is an educational and training centre for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Paris.

NATALIA 230 X 300

See more great images from the launch on SOEE Flickr Page

Young Athlete Program

Special Olympics Young Athletes® is a unique play-based program for 2-7 year olds with intellectual disabilities which develops physical, social and cognitive skills. The Program supports early childhood development, engages families and raises awareness in the community. Young Athletes is an early introduction to sports and to the world of Special Olympics for the children.

natalia paris 230 x 300

'Every child should experience the Program'

As a top international model Natalia Vodianova is one of the world's most recognisable faces.  Originally from Russia and now living in France, Natalia has been a long-term dedicated supporter of Special Olympics and is particularly committed to helping Special Olympics grow the Young Athlete Program. She believes every child between the ages of 2 and 7 with an intellectual disability should be introduced to the Program. "I wish all children with an intellectual disability could experience the Young Athlete Program which is so vital for developing physical and social skills and I am proud to be involved and help in any way I can," stated Natalia.

nat group

Uplifting Experience

Speaking at the launch Natalia added "I’m honoured to be part of the Special Olympics experience.  To see the light in the children eyes is truly uplifting.  The athletes of Special Olympics are an inspiration to me.  I am proud to here today officially launching the Young Athlete Program in France so that thousands of children with intellectual disabilities and their families and wider communities across France can benefit."

nat group 2 300 x 200

Check out Special Olympics France on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsFrance

New Network for Families

Alain Deletoille, National Director of Special Olympics
France emphasised the importance of the Young Athlete Program for children with intellectual disabilities and their families."I am delighted that the Young Athlete Program is now in France. We hope Young Athlete activities become embedded in family life. The Program not only improves cognitive, social and physical skills in children but also serves as an introduction for new families to the resources and support available within Special Olympics while providing a practical vehicle for families to network with each other."

For more information on the Special Olympics Young Athlete Program visit http://www.specialolympics.org/young_athletes.aspx


Your Donation Matters

Special Olympics transforms athletes’ lives through the joy of sport. Help us make a difference.


Volunteer Near You

Volunteering with Special Olympics is fun and very rewarding, for both the athlete and the volunteer!


Follow Us

Help us reach out to one more athlete.

Donate »

Find events near you and learn about volunteer opportunities at one of our 220 worldwide locations.


Videos and Photos

DifferentBarry Cairns tells what it's like to be a Special Olympics athlete.Watch Video »

Videos and Photos

SpeechlessSpecial Olympics changed her life in deep and meaningful ways.Watch Video »

Videos and Photos

Summer GamesAround the world, months of practice are paying off.See Slideshow »

Videos and Photos

Photos on FBSee photos and comments from our supporters around the world.See Photos »

Videos and Photos

Hope in HaitiLeo and Gedeon play in makeshift fields, tent towns, wherever they can.Watch Video »

Videos and Photos

Finding His VoiceDavid Egan has always dreamed big. Now look at him!Learn More »

Videos and Photos

Sport Teaches UsOur life-changing work is fueled by the power of sport.Watch Video »

Videos and Photos

Making SuccessDoctors said Lani is “never going to achieve anything.” Learn More »

Videos and Photos

Very Very SpecialMusic helps Special Olympics make an impact worldwide.See Slideshow »

Videos and Photos

Around The WorldGreat photos of Special Olympics events and people.See Slideshow »

Videos and Photos

Focus on ChangeWhat we do can't be done without our partners.See Slideshow »

Videos and Photos

Power of SportsSports are a powerful way to change our athlete’s lives.See Slideshow »

Videos and Photos

What We DoSports, health, education, community and more.See Slideshow »

Videos and Photos

Who We AreWe are athletes, families, celebs, volunteers and more.See Slideshow »

Videos and Photos

Summer SportsOur athletes run, jump, swim and score in summer.See Slideshow »

Videos and Photos

Playing UnifiedUnified Sports reveals strengths in every team member.Watch Video »

Videos and Photos

Healthier AthletesOur free health clinics are making a huge difference.Watch Video »

Videos and Photos

Deon NamisebHe's a speaker and role model. It didn't start that way in Namibia.Learn More »

Special Olympics Blog

Health Needs Need Closer Examination

"You can't compete if your feet hurt, if your teeth hurt or if your ears ache."read more »

Posted on 2014-04-07 by Ryan

go to blog »


Special Olympics - Become a Fan