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Ambassadors, Volunteers, Partners: It’s Full Steam Ahead for Kazan 2022!

It has been a busy and exciting end to the year for the Special Olympics World Winter Games Kazan 2022 team. In the past month alone, we have announced a team of exciting new Games Ambassadors, including ice hockey legend Alexander Ovechkin, welcomed Coca-Cola on board as an official partner of the Games and opened the applications for Games volunteers!
Two Short Track Speed Skaters in the rink racing.
Evgenii Elmeev of Special Olympics Russia winning gold in the 1,500 M short track speed skating relay at the Special Olympics Sweden Invitational Games Sweden 2020 in February.

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.”

Night picture of Mardjani Mosque in Kazan, Russia.
Mardjani Mosque in Kazan, Russia. The city of Kazan will host the Special Olympics World Winter Games in January 2022.

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!"

Mary Davis on screen addressing a group of people (out of the image) as a commentator sits and watches.
Mary Davis, CEO of Special Olympics International, addresses the online meeting between representatives of the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan, the Local Organizing Committee of the World Winter Games in Kazan, and The Coca-Cola Company during which Coca-Cola’s support for World Games Kazan 2022 was announced.

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

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