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Special Olympics at UEFA EURO 2024: Athletes from Hessen Countdown to Kick Off!

Special Olympics athletes across Germany are in training to volunteer at UEFA EURO 2024 through a groundbreaking tandem volunteering programme inspired by the inclusivity of Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023. Today, we catch up with Arthur Bunke and Michael Maegerlein—both athletes and volunteers from Special Olympics Hessen.
A man stands beside a large trophy which is mounted on top of a digital countdown clock to UEFA EURO 2024.
Michael Maegerlein at the launch of his volunteer training for UEFA EURO 2024.

In the run up to UEFA EURO 2024—the third-largest sporting event in the world—we will chat to football fanatic Special Olympics athletes across Germany who are volunteering at the tournament. Arthur Bunke and Michael Maegerlein from Special Olympics Hessen are among the volunteers in Frankfurt.

Both Arthur and Michael have been paired with a partner as part of the tandem initiative. Arthur’s tandem partner is his brother, Karl. Arthur and Karl will be checking tickets at Frankfurt Arena where they hope to catch some football action after their work is done! “I think I’ll see some games. The team I want to see the most is Germany,” exclaimed Arthur, who is aged 19 and a swimmer with Special Olympics Hessen. He is delighted that such a high profile football spectacle has come to his front door. He adds, “The great thing is that it takes place in Frankfurt!” He is backing Germany for the win but is also looking forward to seeing other teams play.

Two men face the camera smiling with tiered seating and a large stage in the background behind them.
Arthur and Karl Bunke at the launch of his volunteer training for UEFA EURO 2024.

Michael, aged 28, will also be checking tickets at Frankfurt Arena. Michael usually works as a machine operator in Marburg but does not mind taking a few days off for this experience. He is already feeling the excitement, “I would like to see all five match days in Frankfurt and I hope that Germany win!” Although Michael does not compete in football with Special Olympics—he has been playing basketball for 13 years and serving as assistant trainer for five years—he has definitely caught the UEFA EURO 2024 bug!

EURO 2024 GmbH have stated that inspiration for the tandem volunteering initiative which Arthur and Michael are taking part in came during the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023. The Host Town Program, which welcomed the athletes to 200 locations across Germany, was the largest communal inclusion project in Germany’s history, and motivated EURO 2024 organisers to follow this example of inclusivity.

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