Next summer in Athens, Greece more than 7,500 athletes from 185 countries will converge on the most historic site in the history of Olympic sport for the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games. The Games will unite the world through sports in a celebration of the abilities and accomplishments of people with intellectual disabilities and form a new global vision of acceptance.
Set for 25 June through 4 July 2011, the Games will also include 2,500 coaches, 25,000 volunteers, 3,000 technical delegates and tens of thousands of family, friends and spectators. They will gather as Special Olympics athletes compete in 22 Olympic-style sports in the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games.
Alternating between summer and winter, the Special Olympics World Games are one of the world’s largest sporting events, drawing as many if not more athletes than the Olympics. Every two years since 1968, athletes from more than 100 nations have gathered to celebrate sport and showcase the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. This prominent world stage brings attention to the Special Olympics movement and helps create positive, sometimes life-saving policy change for people with intellectual disabilities in countries around the world.
The Special Olympics World Summer Games will be a milestone event of a long-lasting movement, founded in 1968 by the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, to create a world that is not dominated by those who are excluded but by those who are included. The games are being held in the land of “fair play," where the true values of competition were born; the talents and skills of the athletes of Special Olympics will remind us what the sports are really about. All participants are winners in their struggle for respect, inclusion and unity.
The 2011 Test Games started this May and run through October. Meanwhile, Athens continues to prepare for hosting Special Olympics athletes on the world’s stage next year. We encourage you to visit the Games’ official website www.athens2011.org to check out more details and to stay connected to the latest news. Volunteers are also still needed as more than 25,000 will be necessary to effectively ensure the Games' success. Join us in the excitement as we countdown to the Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011!