Passing of the Torch
The official passing of the Special Olympics flag to the next World Games host country, was marked as President of Special Olympics Austria, Jürgen Winter handed the iconic flag to members of the Games Organizing Committee of Abu Dhabi. The Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in capital of the UAE in March 2019 and will see 7,000 athletes participate.
The Mayor of Graz, Siegfried Nagl, addressed the crowd and said: “The flame might be gone but the fire is still burning.” There was also a Unified dance demonstration, featuring dangers with and without intellectual disabilities, from the dance group “Ich bin O.K.”
13-year old America´s Got Talent winner Grace VanderWaal got the audience moving when she performed two of her songs; “I don´t know my name” and “Light the Sky,” before she handed over the stage to honorary president of Special Olympics Austria, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"Heartbeat for the world," was the motto of this year's Special Olympics World Winter Games, the world’s largest winter sports event for people with intellectual disabilities, taking place from March 14 to 25. More than 2600 athletes from 105 nations, 1100 coaches, 5000 family members, 3000 volunteers and 600 journalists and media representatives were present at the sporting venues at Graz, Schladming and Ramsau am Dachstein.