Special Olympics Wins Prestigious Spirit Of Sport Award

April 08, 2011

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. – Today during the  SportAccord meetings in London, in the presence of more than 60 International Sports Federations, Special Olympics was awarded the prestigious “Spirit of Sport” Award.  Special Olympics project “2010 Special Olympics Regional Games” was the winner of the project awards category, and honored to place alongside FIFA Africa Football for Hope, the second place winner, and International Paralympic committee, the third place winner.

In 2010, Special Olympics undertook the challenge to execute five regional multi-sports events in the same year. These five Regional Games held in the USA, Poland, Syria, China, and Puerto Rico impacted upon almost 36,000 people directly; among them 9,000 Special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities from 117 countries, family members and 17,000 volunteers. With this multi-faceted program, Special Olympics addressed not only the stigma associated with having an intellectual disability but helped countries provide opportunities for these people to participate in sports while promoting inclusivity and acceptance amongst society at large.

Accepting the award on behalf of all Special Olympics athletes worldwide was Lee Penfold of Special Olympics Great Britain.  Penfold will be competing on the basketball team as part of the delegation from Special Olympics Great Britain in the upcoming Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011. During the acceptance Penfold told the audience how Special Olympics has changed his life and he expressed his excitement to participate in the upcoming World Games in Greece. He said that receiving this award “helps validate that we are true athletes,” and that, “It is my hope that this award will open the door to the millions of people with intellectual disabilities who have yet to experience Special Olympics, giving them a chance to succeed as well.”

“To receive the “Spirit of Sport” Award from SportAccord is a tremendous honor for Special Olympics as this award recognizes the critical role of sport as a catalyst for changing the lives of millions of persons with and without intellectual disabilities,” said Dr. Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics.  “Sport teaches us to recognize our similarities over our differences while celebrating the effort to do one’s best in a spirit of respect.  And while Special Olympics has had a positive impact on many persons with an intellectually disability, there are many more people that are still hidden, shunned or abused.  We look forward to working more closely with the international sports community to broaden the reach of our organizations and bring the joy and goodwill of sport to many more people.”

"To receive the “Spirit of Sport” Award from SportAccord is a tremendous honor for Special Olympics as this award recognizes the critical role of sport as a catalyst for changing the lives of millions of persons with and without intellectual disabilities,” shared Dr. Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics.  “Sport teaches us to recognize our similarities over our differences while celebrating the effort to do one’s best in a spirit of respect.  And while Special Olympics has had a positive impact on many persons with an intellectually disability, there are many more people that are still hidden, shunned or abused.  We look forward to working more closely with the international sports community to broaden the reach of our organizations and bring the joy and goodwill of sport to many more people.”

SportAccord President Hein Verbruggen said “The quality of the applications submitted this year was outstanding. We congratulate all our nominees and shortlisted projects received from our members including: Aikido, Basketball, Cricket, Football, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Motorcycling, Netball, Rugby, Skiing, Surfing, Taekwondo, Special Olympics and the International Paralympic Committee.”


About the Spirit of Sport Award
The ‘Spirit of Sport’ Award was created by the SportAccord Council in 2002 to commend the commitment and humanitarian spirit of SportAccord members who have made an exceptional and lasting contribution to using sport as a tool for positive social change. The individual award recognizes the exceptional contribution of an individual to sport and society. The project awards focus on the specific programs of SportAccord members related to the areas of Child & Youth Development, Peace, Health, Gender, Persons with Disabilities and the Environment.  2011 Spirit of Sport Award Commission: Don Porter, Chairman (ISF), Tamás Aján (IWF), Keith Calkins (IRF), Marisol Casado (ITU), Anita L. DeFrantz (FISA) , Ron Froehlich (IWGA), Sarah Lewis (FIS), Klaus Schormann (UIPM).

About SportAccord
SportAccord is the umbrella organization for 104 international sports federations and organizations. Its mission is to support and to protect the common interests of the sports movement. Activities include the online video portal The Sports Hub, the organization of multi-sports games, doping-free sport, as well as sports’ social responsibility and sports’ integrity. http://www.sportaccord.com

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 nearly 3.5 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition health screenings, and other related programs.  Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in all regions of the world and in 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.

CONTACT:
Mandy Murphy
Special Olympics
+1-202-824-0227     
mamurphy@specialolympics.org

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