Russian model, actress and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova recently met with three Special Olympics athletes in Paris to wish them success as they prepare to compete in the 2013 Special Olympics France National Games taking place in Gravelines, Northern France this weekend from June 27 to 30.
The athletes, Emma, Stanislas and Maëlle, will join the 1200 athletes with intellectual disabilities, gathering in Gravelines to compete in football, bocce, basketball, judo, water sports, swimming and motor activities over the next three days.
Special Olympics is the largest sports organisation in the world providing year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and athletes with intellectual disabilities.
“Special Olympics athletes are an inspiration to me” says Natalia Vodianova. “I love to spend time with them and share in their warm and joyful spirit. I told the athletes that by giving their very best this weekend they will make their families and communities very proud.
“I want to wish the best of luck to every athlete taking part in the 2013 Special Olympics France National Games this weekend and encourage more people to get involved. Special Olympics is a wonderful organisation because it empowers people with intellectual disabilities through sports while promoting a more accepting and respectful world for all of us” added Natalia.
Passionate about the welfare of children, Natalia Vodianova created the Naked Heart Foundation in 2004, which to date has built 100 playgrounds for children in disadvantaged regions of Russia and develops a network of family support centers for families raising children with intellectual disabilities.
The Special Olympics France National Games are the highlight event of the Special Olympics calendar in France which offers year-round training and sports competition for people with intellectual disabilities in 37 districts and 100 special schools around the country. More than 200 volunteers have been mobilsed to support the Gravelines Games.
For more information visit www.specialolympics.asso.fr and blog.specialolympics.asso.fr