'Special Olympics Athletes are an inspiration' - Natalia Vodianova

Top model, actress and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova launches Young Athlete Program in France

Official Launch in Paris

Natalia Vodianova at the Young Athlete Program launch in Paris

Leading international model, actress, philanthropist and dedicated supporter of Special Olympics, Natalia Vodianova officially launched the Special Olympics France Young Athlete Program. Almost 20 Young Athletes and their families took part in the fun filled event which took place at the  IME 'LA ROSERAIE' - which is an educational and training centre for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Paris.

Young Athlete Program

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Special Olympics Young Athletes® is a unique play-based program for 2-7 year olds with intellectual disabilities which develops physical, social and cognitive skills. The Program supports early childhood development, engages families and raises awareness in the community. Young Athletes is an early introduction to sports and to the world of Special Olympics for the children.

'Every child should experience the Program'

As a top international model Natalia Vodianova is one of the world's most recognisable faces.  Originally from Russia and now living in France, Natalia has been a long-term dedicated supporter of Special Olympics and is particularly committed to helping Special Olympics grow the Young Athlete Program. She believes every child between the ages of 2 and 7 with an intellectual disability should be introduced to the Program. "I wish all children with an intellectual disability could experience the Young Athlete Program which is so vital for developing physical and social skills and I am proud to be involved and help in any way I can," stated Natalia.

Uplifting Experience

Speaking at the launch Natalia added "I’m honoured to be part of the Special Olympics experience.  To see the light in the children eyes is truly uplifting.  The athletes of Special Olympics are an inspiration to me.  I am proud to here today officially launching the Young Athlete Program in France so that thousands of children with intellectual disabilities and their families and wider communities across France can benefit."

New Network for Families

Check out Special Olympics France on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsFrance

Alain Deletoille, National Director of Special Olympics
France emphasised the importance of the Young Athlete Program for children with intellectual disabilities and their families."I am delighted that the Young Athlete Program is now in France. We hope Young Athlete activities become embedded in family life. The Program not only improves cognitive, social and physical skills in children but also serves as an introduction for new families to the resources and support available within Special Olympics while providing a practical vehicle for families to network with each other."

For more information on the Special Olympics Young Athlete Program visit https://www.specialolympics.org/young_athletes.aspx