For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. – Today marks 100 days to go until the world’s most inspiring sporting event, the Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011.
“This year's Special Olympics World Summer Games are coming to the home of the ancient Olympics, to the birthplace of modern sport. There, our athletes will lay claim to the Olympic ideals and claim them as their own. They will assert their vision of human greatness defined by the bravery, the joy and the determination of the human spirit,” said Special Olympics Chairman and CEO, Timothy P. Shriver. “Our Games this summer in Athens will focus on excellence in sports, empowering youth both with and without intellectual disabilities to carry on our mission of acceptance and inclusion all over the world. They will focus on promoting the power and urgency of unity.”
Shriver shared this and more in a video message celebrating the countdown, which can be seen in its entirety here: http://j.mp/hpx8v4
All five children of the late Special Olympics founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and her late husband Robert Sargent Shriver, including Robert “Bobby” Sargent Shriver III, Maria Owings Shriver, Timothy P. Shriver, Mark Kennedy Shriver and Anthony Paul Kennedy Shriver are scheduled to attend the Games.
Additional notable names from across the world that are scheduled to attend include: David Archuleta, Nadia Comaneci, Bart Conner, Brooklyn Decker, Donna DeVarona, Vladimir Grbic, Vittorio Grigolo, Tom Hoff, Michelle Kwan, Maria Menounos, Yao Ming, Dikembe Mutombo, John Naber, Sam Perkins, Alkistis Protopsalti, Pauline Davis Thompson, Vanessa Williams and Zhang Ziyi.
Those will be just a few of the tens of thousands of people who will converge in Athens to celebrate the 7,000 Special Olympics athletes representing nearly 180 countries competing in the World Games. From 25 June – 4 July, the world's most inspiring athletes will compete in 22 different Olympic-type sports. The 13th Special Olympics World Summer Games will be the largest sporting event held in the world in 2011 and the first major sporting event in Athens since the Olympics were held there in 2004.
Every two years, thousands of Special Olympics athletes worldwide come together to showcase their athletic skills and celebrate the spirit of Special Olympics. The first Special Olympic World Games took place in 1968 and since then have evolved into a world-class sporting event, attracting a wide range of sponsors, supporters and media.
Alternating between Summer Games and Winter Games, Special Olympics World Games bring public attention to the talents and capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities, helping to change attitudes and break down barriers that excluded them from the mainstream of the community. The last Special Olympics World Games were Winter Games held in Boise, Idaho in 2009. The last World Summer Games were held in Shanghai, China in 2007.
For information about the upcoming Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011, visit the Games’ official website at www.athens2011.org. Fans are also encouraged to learn more at the following online channels:
Global media professionals, including print, online, broadcast and photo press, are invited to apply for accreditation to cover the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens by applying online and then clicking the media registration form button to complete and submit registration.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more nearly 3.5 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in places like China and from regions like the Middle East to the community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood’s backyard. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.