Thousands of athletes from around the world will soon gather in Austria to compete in the Special Olympics World Games 2017, a highlight for the International sporting community and the culmination of months and years of training and competition.
Special Olympics is a worldwide organization that seeks to bring together and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Throughout the year, more than 4 million athletes in 170 countries train and compete in a number of disciplines with modified rules and regulations.
The World Games are a chance for the best Special Olympics Cyprus athletes to compete on the organization’s largest stage and for all competitors to celebrate their successes.
Special Olympics Cyprus in Austria Games 2017
This year’s World Games will take place over eight days in the Austrian host cities of Graz and Schladming, plus venues in Ramsau am Dachstein and Rohrmoos-Untertal, home to some of the best winter sport centers in Europe.
In total, 2,700 athletes from 107 countries will compete in nine sports: figure skating, speed skating, floor hockey, floorball, snowshoeing, nordic skiing, snowboarding, and stick shooting. There will also be demonstration events in dancing and motor activity trainings program, or MATP.
The Special Olympics enables athletes of all levels to participate, meaning competitions are arranged so athletes compete with others at the same performance level in groups of three to eight athletes.
Aside from the athletes, the games are made possible with the help of more than 1,000 coaches and trainers and 3,000 volunteers from around the world. More than 20,000 family members, media representatives, honored guests, and fans are also expected to attend. Athletes come from all over the world, including 22 from Cyprus, and represent six continents.
Everything about the World Games is meant to celebrate the athletes and the mission of the entire Special Olympics organization. The games kick off on March 18 with the opening ceremony, including a celebration, parade of athletes, and concert from Jason Mraz and Grace VanderWaal.
After days of competition, the games conclude March 24 with the closing ceremony. The opening ceremony, along with some aspects of competition, will be broadcast live on ESPN, a first for the Special Olympics.
“The whole world will come to Austria and will celebrate a big sports and social event with us. We look forward to welcoming all athletes and coaches and guests in Graz, Schladming and Ramsau,” said Marc Angelini and Max Pichler, the two CEOs for the games.
Aside from the athletic competition, the Special Olympics 2017 will feature a number of other programs and events, including a Healthy Athletes Program, the largest public health program for people with intellectual disabilities around the world that provides free, friendly health screenings and free health supplies like glasses and hearing aids to athletes at no charge.
There will also be programs with local schools, inclusive programs and competitions, and a chance to expose guests and athletes to the culture and arts of Austria.
Special Olympics Town will host a number of musical, culinary, and customary activities through the competition to bring together spectators and athletes.
The Special Olympics World Games are the pinnacle of the global organization and a true celebration of the human spirit. The 2017 games in Austria are sure to be a memorable experience for all athletes, coaches, and spectators involved.