Special Olympics Signs Sports Proclamations with the International Federations for Volleyball, Softball and Tenpin Bowling

A legacy of the 2011 Special Olympics World Games will be their contribution to advancing the sports experience and quality training for Special Olympics athletes.

Specifically, Special Olympics has signed three new partnership agreements with international sports federations: the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), International Softball Federation (ISF), and the World Tenpin Bowling Association (WTBA).

Through these agreements, Special Olympics sports competitions will be held in tandem with competitions sponsored by sports federations and athletes will also likely to have more opportunities to be trained as an official in his or her sport. In addition, federation agreements will set the stage for helping recruit talented coaches to train Special Olympics athletes and will also promote Unified Sports®.

At the FIVB signing, Theofanis Tsiokris, 2nd Executive, Vice President of the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) and Brady Lum, President and COO of Special Olympics, were joined by Olympic champions Tom Hoff of the United States, Vladimir Vanja Grbić of Serbia, Adriana Behar of Brazil, and Aldis Berzins of the US. Berzins, a gold medalist from the 1984 Olympics, now works as a Sports Director for Special Olympics International.

“The FIVB, with our 221 members, is proud to be here,” said Tsiokris. “It is our duty and honor to sign this proclamation… These athletes are all champions and winners. We wish them the best success because [they] deserve it!”

Lum was also present at a signing with the International Softball Federation. ISF President Don Porter, a former member of the Special Olympics International Board of Directors, called attention to the need for the international sports community to rally together behind Special Olympics. “There really ought to be a movement with all the international sports federations. Let's try to find a way to help Special Olympics. It’s one of the best kept secrets in the world.”

The third sports federation, signed earlier this week by Kevin Dornberger, President of the World Tenpin Bowling Association (WTBA), and Lum, will allow Special Olympics to become a permanent fixture in the World Tenpin Association World Championships. Mr. Dornberger also invited Special Olympics to speak directly to the member organizations of the WTBA at their upcoming Congress in September.