Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011: Delegations from All Over the World are Arriving in Greece

juin 20, 2011

For Immediate Release

Athens, Greece - The official Delegations of Special Olympics athletes, staff and coaches have begun to arrive in Athens from all over the world to the official Delegation Welcome Center at the Metropolitan Expo, full of enthusiasm and great expectations for the upcoming World Games.  As of now, 2812 people have arrived from more than 58 countries. The rest of the Delegations are expected to arrive over the next day and some have arrived directly at their Host Town elsewhere in Greece.

These Delegations have already departed for their Host Town Program cities including Rhodes, Crete, Evia, the Ionian islands, Cyprus and Macedonia and cities across mainland Greece.  The local organizing committees welcomed them with love and with traditional Greek hospitality.  Hoteliers have provided free rooms to all of these Delegations, which is a very noble gesture to welcome these Delegations for free during the height of the tourist season for Greece. In total more than 25,000 hotel room nights will have been donated during the Host Town program.

The Host Town Program is a special event of World Games. Delegations from around the world will be hosted for four days throughout the 13 regions of Greece prior to their arrival in Athens for the Games.Through a series of sporting, cultural and artistic events, Special Olympics athletes will have the opportunity to adapt to a new environment, to experience the Greek culture, to enjoy the natural beauty and traditional cuisine, as well as train before the Games. The Delegations are enjoying arriving at the Welcome Center and eager to head to their Host Towns.

The President of the Organizing Committee of the Special Olympics World Summer Games ATHENS 2011, Joanna Despotopoulou visited the Welcome Center and said that, “After two years of hard work and commitment, we are very excited for this moment as we meet the Official Delegations from all over the world, the Special Olympics Athletes and their coaches.  It is now that we realize that our endeavor is very small in comparison with the enthusiasm and anticipation of these athletes for the World Games. Their smiles are giving us hope and optimism for the future. This is the reason why, once more, I invite you all, on behalf of the athletes and their families, coaches and our volunteers to join us at the Ceremonies, at the athletic venues and to all the non- sport events. I assure you that it will be a unique life experience for all of us”.

Special Olympics President, Mr. Brady Lum, also had a chance to visit the Delegation Welcome Center yesterday.  “The magic of Special Olympics starts even before the first competition or ceremony. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to spend an entire day at the Delegation Welcome Center in Athens, greeting dozens of teams of athletes and coaches as they arrived in Greece. For the delegations, this marks the beginning of their World Games experience. The atmosphere was thriving and full of excitement.”  You can read more about his experience by visiting the Special Olympics blog.

Below is a list of all of the Special Olympics programs (“SO” followed by country name) who sent Delegations to Athens for World Games that have arrived to date:

18 June:
1.  SO SUDAN
2.  SO SEYCHELLES
3.  SO COTE D’ IVOIRE
4.  SO NORWAY
5.  SO COSTA RICA

19 June:
1.  SO JAMAICA
2.  SO BAHAMAS
3.  SO BELIZE
4.  SO SURINAME
5.  SO BURKINA FASO
6.  SO CANADA
7.  SO PUERTO RICO
8.  SO ARUBA
9.  SO MALAWI
10.  SO COSTA RICA
11.  SO PALESTINE
12.  SO NEW ZEALAND
13.  SO FINLAND
14.  SO THAILAND
15.  SO EGYPT
16.  SO ARGENTINA
17.  SO BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
18.  SO MOROCCO
19.  SO ECUADOR
20.  ST MAARTEN
21.  SO AUSTRALIA
22.  SO LATVIA
23.  SO POLAND
24.  SO SLOVENIA
25.  SO TAJIKISTAN
26.  SO BENIN
27.  SO LUXEMBOURG
28.  SO KAZAKHSTAN
29.  SO GUADELOUPE
30.  SO BARBADOS
31.  SO CROATIA
32.  SO PHILIPPINES
33.  SO TURKMENISTAN
34.  SO NEPAL
35.  SO BELGIUM
36.  SO PANAMA
37.  SO GREAT BRITAIN
38.  SO ESTONIA
39.  SO SPAIN
40.  SO NAMIBIA

20 June:
1.  SO KYRGYZ REPUBLIC
2.  SO PARAGUAY
3.  SO UKRAINE
4.  SO MOLDOVA
5.  SO BELARUS
6.  SO GYUANA
7.  SO MONTSERAAT
8.  SO SAMOA
9  .SO MYANMAR
10.  SO CHINESE TAIPEI
11.  SO SINGAPORE
12.  SO MALTA
13.  SO ARMENIA

For a full list of participating countries see page 10 of the World Games media guide here. For more information on Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011 visit the Games official website at www.athens2011.org or follow the Games at"

•  www.facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsWorldGames
•  www.twitter.com/Athens2011media
•  www.youtube.com/Athens2011

About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives through the power of sport 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 than 3.7 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.

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