Celebrities, Olympians and Special Olympics Athletes Unite for Unity Sports Events at World GamesNew exhibition events debuted at World Games Athens 2011

June 23, 2011

 Athens, Greece – Special Olympics will introduce a new sports exhibition at the World Games, Unity Sports Events, a series of competitions that pair people with and without intellectual disabilities to compete alongside one another on the field of play. Celebrity guests of the World Games will participate in 24 different events scheduled throughout the World Games.

Inspired by Special Olympics Unified Sports®, Unity Sports Events will provide a memorable opportunity for the athletes and celebrity guests to spotlight the importance of inclusion, sportsmanship, and friendship to the rest of the world. This first-hand experience aims to change perceptions and break down barriers for people with intellectual disabilities, by uniting people in the joy of competition.

During the course of the World Summer Games, 24 Unity Sports Events will take place in nearly every sport. These events include races, relays, tournaments, and team competitions.

Schedule of events with venue and time in parenthesis


June 26
Tennis (MTN-10:30)
Cycling (HSB-15:00)

July 1
Dragon Boat (SKA-12:00)
Handball (HFI-12:00)
Table Tennis (SEF-13:00)
Sailing (SSA-13:00)

July 2
Kayaking (SKA-12:00)
Softball (HSB-12:30)
Table Tennis (SEF-13:00)
Athletics* (MOL-13:45)
Volleyball (MOL-16:30)

June 28
Badminton (HFI-13:00)
Golf (GGF-14:00)
Roller Skating (SEF-15:30)

July 2
Kayaking (SKA-12:00)
Softball (HSB-12:30)
Table Tennis (SEF-13:00)
Athletics* (MOL-13:45)
Volleyball (MOL-16:30)

July 3
10K* (Panathenaikon-08:00)
1/2 Marathon* (Pana-08:00)
Football (HHO-11:45)
Bowling* (BBO-13:00)
Table Tennis (SEF-13:00)
Aquatics* (MAQ-15:00)
Basketball* (MBK-15:00)
Bocce (SEF-17:30)

June 30
Golf (GGF-14:00)
Beach Volleyball (SEF-17:00)

 

*Events include an opportunity for accredited media to participate. Interested media should contact Parker Ramsdell at pramsdell@specialolympics.org to sign up. Spots are limited and will be filled on a first come-first served basis.

**All accredited media may cover all Unity Sports Events**

The professional and Olympic athletes competing in Unity Sports have played in FIFA World Cups, been selected as NBA All-Stars, and combined, have won 26 gold, 14 silver, and 10 bronze Olympic medals. Most will be competing in their primary sport; however, some are challenging themselves by trying different events. Also joining in the competitions are celebrities from around the world.  Below is the list of celebrity and athletic guests who will be participating in the various Unity Sports Events:

 

Tennis:
Mario Ancic


 Beach Volleyball:
Adriana Behar
Vanja Grbic
Tom Hoff
Marios Giourdas
Vasso Karadassiou

 Athletics:
Voula Patoulidou
Pauline Davis-Thompson 


Dragon Boat Racing:
Riyo Mori


Football:
Enrique Borja
Lucas Radebe 


Cycling:
Zhang Ziyi
Edwin Moses
Olga Vasdeki

Aquatics:
Donna de Varona
 John Naber


Roller Skating:
Apolo Ohno
Michelle Kwan


Basketball:
 Vlade Divac
 Joe Jonas
 Sam Perkins
 Argiris Kambouris
Dikembe Mutombo

Badminton:
Bart Conner
Nadia Comaneci


Half Marathon:
Yuko Arimori

Sailing:
Nikos Kaklamanaki
Sofia Bekatorou
 Odysseas Eskitzoglou


Any media questions related to the Unity Sports Events should be directed to Mandy Murphy at mamurphy@specialolympics.org or +202. 824.0227


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. Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics; fb.com/specialolympics; youtube.com/specialolympicshq, and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.

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