Gold Medalist Apolo Ohno Tours Asia in Support of Special Olympics

February 06, 2012

Olympic Speed Skater Tours Japan and China; Includes Visit to Fukushima for Special Olympics’ Japanese Winter Games

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, D.C., 06 February 2012 – Olympic gold medalist Apolo Ohno is headed to Asia the 9thto 15th of February to bring awareness to the incredible power of Special Olympics, promote the Special Olympics World Winter Games PyeongChang 2013, and to unite the world in acceptance of all people with intellectual disabilities. Ohno will first visit Japan to attend the 2012 Special Olympics Nippon Winter Games, 10 - 12 February, to be held in Fukushima, about 70 miles from the site of last year’s devastating tsunami.  Ohno has Japanese heritage and his father, Yuki, will be traveling with him. They plan to visit his Grandmother who lives outside of Nagano (the site of the 2005 Special Olympics World Winter Games) so this will be a particularly special visit.  From there, Ohno will continue on to China, making stops in both Beijing and Ji Lin City, to visit with local schools and help share his speed skating skills through clinics with local Special Olympics athletes.

Ohno is a passionate celebrity supporter of Special Olympics, beginning in 2010 when Ohno traveled to Singapore to help develop their speed skating program.  The following year, Ohno participated in the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece and most recently, he attended the announcement of Special Olympics World Summer Games being awarded to Los Angeles in 2015.  Apolo Ohno is an incredible advocate to Special Olympics athletes because he strives every day to be his personal best, inspiring the 3.75 million athletes of Special Olympics to do the same.  Tim Shriver, Special Olympics Chairman and CEO, said of Ohno’s tour with Special Olympics, “We greatly appreciate Apolo’s passion to share in the pride and joy with our athletes and bring the world’s attention to our movement in Japan and China.”

This will be the fifth Special Olympics Nippon Winter Games including 700 athletes, 400 staff and coaches, and more than 3000 volunteers. These Winter Games will also form the athlete delegation from Japan who will travel to Special Olympics World Winter Games PyeongChang 2013.

”It’s an honor to travel with Special Olympics to Japan and China – two of my favorite places to visit – and to share in the excitement of the inspiriting stories and talents of the athletes who compete and participate in Special Olympics,” said Ohno.  “You have not seen inspiration in its purest form until you have witnessed a Special Olympics athlete competing.  Special Olympics athletes strive to be better than they were yesterday, a philosophy, I believe, we should all live by every day. To that end, I’m excited to share the story of Special Olympics and bring awareness to this transformational movement.”

Media who wish to interview Ohno on his visit should contact Special Olympics.  Below are further details on his schedule for press:

  • JAPAN:  9 – 12 February:
    • Thursday 9 Feb:  Ohno arrives in Japan
    • Friday 10 Feb: Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Special Olympics Nippon Winter Games
    • Saturday 11 Feb:  Ohno attends Winter Games and conducts speed skating clinic
    • Sunday 12 Feb: Ohno presents medals, then travels to Beijing
  • CHINA: 13 – 15 February:
    • Monday 13 Feb: Ohno holds Special Olympics speed skating clinic in Beijing
    • Tuesday 14 Feb: Ohno visits local schools, then flies to Ji Lin City, China
    • Wednesday 15 Feb:  Speed skating clinic in Changchun, then departs for USA

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 take place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities all over the world, from community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood’s backyard to World Games. 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.

CONTACT:

Kristin Hughes                                                                    

Special Olympics                                    
khughes@specialolympics.org   

+1 (202)-824-0370             

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