In early December, the Local Organizing Committee of the Special Olympics World Winter Games Kazan 2022 made the eagerly awaited announcement of the official Games Ambassadors. The Ambassadors—who are drawn from the worlds of elite sports, business, politics and media—are eager to support the promotion of the Kazan Games and encourage Special Olympics athletes as they prepare, train and ultimately compete on the world stage in Kazan. The ambassador team includes Alexander Ovechkin, ice hockey world champion and Stanley Cup winner; Tatiana Navka, Olympic and world champion figure skater; Alexander Legkov, Russian cross-country skier and Olympic marathon champion; Alexey Nechaev, Russian businessman and politician; and Ksenia Solovyova, editor-in-chief of Tatler magazine in Russia.
Commenting on the announcement, Alexander Ovechkin, captain of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL), noted, "I believe that people with disabilities who are engaged in sports are real heroes, real fighters. Despite everything, they continue to believe and continue to get pleasure from life.”
Just days after the ambassador announcement, another exciting development came from Kazan: Coca-Cola—a longtime Special Olympics supporter—became the Official Partner of the Games! The announcement was made during an online meeting between representatives of the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan, the Local Organizing Committee of the World Winter Games in Kazan, Special Olympics, and The Coca-Cola Company and was followed by an official signing of the agreement.
Following the announcement, Xenia Byakhova, Special Olympics Russia athletics and snowshoeing champion, said, “I am very happy to participate in Special Olympics as I like to play sports and communicate with other teenagers. I look forward to the 2022 Special Olympic World Games, Kazan, when we can host athletes from all over the world and celebrate the victory together with Coca-Cola!"
Our new Games partner and Ambassadors are not the only ones who we expect will be eager to support the athletes of Special Olympics in Kazan. Applications for volunteers on the ground at the Games also opened earlier this month on International Volunteers Day, and huge interest is anticipated across Russia—and perhaps even further afield!
Olga Slutsker, President of the Special Olympics of Russia: "[The World Games] is a special project that embodies the true values of the volunteer movement—openness, acceptance, trust and respect for each other. It combines two wings of the volunteer movement—social and sports volunteering. I would like to invite those who share our values, who are ready to contribute to the development of equal opportunities for everyone, to join the Games team”.
It’s expected that at least 3,000 volunteers will sign up over course of the application period, which runs until May 2021. Application is open to candidates from across the world. Learn more