2019 Special Olympics World Games Finalists Announced
February 14, 2012
Washington, D.C. – Special Olympics International has announced three finalists from the following countries who have submitted bids to host the Special Olympics World Summer Games in 2019: Australia, Germany, and South Africa.
After a review of bid questionnaires by the Games Committee of the Special Olympics International Board of Directors, these three finalists were chosen because of their clear capability to host a world class event for Special Olympics and to advance the key priorities of the Special Olympics movement. Site inspections of the three finalist countries will be conducted by the Special Olympics Games Committee in the coming months and then finalists will make formal presentations to the Games Committee and Special Olympics board members. The Special Olympics International Board of Directors will announce the selection of the host for the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in December 2012.
“Australia, Germany, and South Africa are all nations with a great love for sports and history of hosting world class sports events,” said Donna De Varona,Olympic Gold Medalist and Co-Chair of the Games Committee of Special Olympics International Board of Directors. “We are thrilled that these nations have stepped forward in such a positive way to host the world’s largest sports and humanitarian event in 2019 – the Special Olympics World Summer Games. Each finalist has enlisted the right combination of support from government, corporate, philanthropic and community leaders necessary to host such a global event. Additionally, each of these countries, if selected, plan to use the World Games not only as a platform to showcase the Special Olympics movement on a world stage but also as a vehicle to create more inclusive communities for people with intellectual disabilities in their country and around the world.”
Past Special Olympics World Games have left indelible social, political and economic marks on the host nation. Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu said the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai were one of the two greatest transformational events for the Chinese people in recent years, the other was the Sichuan earthquake. Irish President Mary McAleese proclaimed that only Ireland's independence had more of a social impact on the people of Ireland than the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games. Additionally, the World Games have been a platform for world political leaders and global celebrities to speak about social justice and the power of grassroots action to effect change.
Every two years, thousands of Special Olympics athletes worldwide come together to showcase their athletic skills and celebrate the spirit of Special Olympics in World Games competition. The first Special Olympics World Games took place in 1968 and, since then, Special Olympics World Games have evolved into world-class sporting events showcasing the everyday impact of the Special Olympics movement, attracting a wide range of sponsors, supporters and media. Alternating between Summer Games and Winter Games, Special Olympics World Games bring public attention to the talents and capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities, helping to change attitudes and break down barriers that excluded them from the mainstream of the community. The next Special Olympics World Winter Games will be held in 2013 in PyeongChang, Korea and the next World Summer Games will be held in Los Angeles, California in 2015. For more information about the upcoming 2013 Special Olympics World Summer Games visit www.2013sopoc.org.
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.
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