Europe Eurasia

Special Olympics in Europe and Eurasia encompasses a diverse range of cultures, languages and customs. The region spans Iceland to Israel, Portugal to Siberia, Russia but we all have one thing in common – a passionate commitment to promoting respect, acceptance, inclusion and human dignity for people with intellectual disabilities through sports.

2014 European Games were held in Antwerp, Belgium. MORE
See the best videos from the 2014 Special Olympics European Summer Games. GO
Natalia Vodianova was among stars attending the European Games. SEE MORE
See hundreds of great photos from the European Games in Antwerp. See Them

Stories from Europe-Eurasia


September 24, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Germany

With the recumbent bike to a bronze medal

By Samuel Asiedu Poku

Waldermar Riel (30) is an athlete of the German delegation during the European Summer Games in Antwerpe 2014. He is restricted in his moving as well as speaking abilities. At the European Games in Antwerpe he already won an outstanding bronze medal in the 1000-meter time trial.View Story Waldermar Riel (30) is an athlete of the German delegation during the European Summer Games in Antwerpe 2014. He is restricted in his moving as well as speaking abilities. At the European Games in Antwerpe he already won an outstanding bronze medal in the 1000-meter time trial. At the 5th of Ocotber 1999 Waldemar Riel (30) moved to Germany. He remembers this date so well as it is one of the most important one in his life. Together with his parents he lives in Kaufbeuren in Bavaria, Germany. “I like this city a lot” Waldemar Riel says. Now and then he spends his vacation at his aunt´s and uncle´s in Kazakhstan. His great-grandparents are from Germany. They have a famous surname: "My great-grandmother´s surname is Merkel" Riel says and smiles. He went to school in Germany and has managed to get a High School degree: “ I used to love mathematics” After his High School graduation he started to do an apprenticeship as a clerical specialists. “During this time I was trained in accounting as well as business writing” he tells us. Due to his infantile cerebral palsy, a early childhood brain damage that causes physical impairments, it was not a given that he is able to finish his apprenticeship. „ Short distances up to one kilometer I can manage without any help” he says. Otherwise he is depending on his wheelchair. As an emigrant and because of his impairment it was not always easy to get accepted in Germany. Through the spastic paralysis also the language center is influenced. “Most of the people react in a normal way“ Waldemar Riel tells us, but he has had bad experiences as well; „A College teacher told him that he does not have time to wait until he has finished his answer.This opinion hurt him a lot. After his education he was looking for a job in the primary labor market for two years. Unfortunately without success. Today he works at the Allgäuer Werkstätten, a facility that employs people with mental disabilities.

About Samuel Asiedu Poku:My name is Samuel Asiedu Poku. I am working in Berlin in the branch office of Special Olympics Germany. During the Special Olympics European Summer Games Antwerp 2014 I have made the public relations for the german delegation.
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September 21, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Belgium

Princess Astrid of Belgium Closes the Games of the Heart

By Maureen Rabbitt

The European Games 2014 have closed but the spirit lives on in our hearts.

Her Majesty Princess Astrid of Belgium has declared the Special Olympics European Games 2014 closed. Belgium said goodbye to the 2,000 athletes with a spectacular Closing Ceremony attended by 14,000 spectators.View Story Her Majesty Princess Astrid of Belgium has declared the Special Olympics European Games 2014 closed. Belgium said goodbye to the 2,000 athletes with a spectacular Closing Ceremony attended by 14,000 spectators. Performances by top Belgium stars Natalia, Kate Ryan, Sandra Kim, Axel Hirsoux, and Stijn Meuris added to the celebrations with lots of dancing. Speaking at the event, EU Commissioner for Sports Androulla Vassiliou said the Games were an important event on the sports landscape in Europe and the world. She added that the bravery of the athletes witnessed at Antwerp 2014 “fills us with huge hope and pride and make this world a better place.” Mary Davis, President of Special Olympics in Europe Eurasia congratulated the Games Organising Committee on their excellent organisation: “You created an atmosphere where every athlete was loved, cherished, respected and included. I hope today Belgium is bursting with pride for what you have done and how you did it.” Thank you Belgium!

About Maureen Rabbitt:I am responsible for Communications & Branding.
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September 20, 2014 | SOI: Europe-Eurasia

HELLO Magazine talks exclusively to Natalia Vodianova about her love for Special Olympics

By Suzanne Coogan

Natalia backstage with her beloved home team Russia at the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics European Summer Games

International supermodel and philanthropist, Natalia Vodianova, traveled to Belgium to attend the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics European Summer Games and the 100 athletes from Team Russia were Natalia's big focus on the night of course!View Story Russian supermodel and philanthropist, Natalia Vodianova, traveled to Belgium to attend the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics European Summer Games and the 100 athletes from Team Russia were Natalia's big focus on the night of course! Afterwards Natalia talked to one of the world's most iconic magazines, HELLO, about her time with the athletes and her love of Special Olympics. 'It’s a great pleasure and a big honour to be at the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics European Games," said Natalia. "I admire the work done by Special Olympics, an organisation that shares many of the same values and goals as my own charity-the Naked Heart Foundation. When I met the athletes from Team Russia it was moving to see how much it means to them to be able to be part of these Games. I felt proud with them as they told me stories of their achievements. I feel very thankful to Special Olympics for giving them the opportunity to reveal their talents and abilities through sport."

About Suzanne Coogan:Senior Manager, Media and Public Awareness Special Olympics Europe Eurasia
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September 20, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Belgium

British identical twins play against each other at the Special Olympics

By Emilie Bruynbroeck

Alistair and Duncan Feltham

Table tennis playing twins Alistair and Duncan (both 46) share that thought. Thirty years ago they started playing table tennis at home and now they have to compete against each other in the finals at the European Games in Antwerp.View Story Table tennis playing twins Alistair and Duncan (both 46) share that thought. Thirty years ago they started playing table tennis at home and now they have to compete against each other in the finals at the European Games in Antwerp. It is not the first time that the brothers have played against other. “Usually one of them wins the first set, the other one wins the next set and so on. They alternately winning sets. The decisive set is always a lottery”, tells their mother, Sheena Feltham. And the game Alistair and Duncan played Wednesday proved her right. The first set was won by Duncan, the second set by Alistair, the third by Duncan and the fourth... Well, you can fill in the blanks. In the final and decisive set, Alistair won with 12-10. Once again a close game. “But there is absolutely no jealousy between the brothers,” knows mother Sheena. “They support each other through thick and thin. They are also really happy when the other one wins. That's brotherly love."

About Emilie Bruynbroeck:I am a volunteer contributor at the media desk in Antwerp Expo. I study journalism.
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September 20, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Belgium

Belgian judoka David De Witte is relevation at Special Olympics

By Emilie Bruynbroeck

David De Witte

Forty seconds, that is all Belgian judoka David De Witte needed for his victory. The first fight against the Swede Fredrik Hallberg only lasted thirty seconds.View Story Forty seconds, that is all Belgian judoka David De Witte needed for his victory. The first fight against the Swede Fredrik Hallberg only lasted thirty seconds. De Witte won this fight immediately with an Ippon, an action by which the opponent cannot stand up. His antagonist in the second fight only persisted ten seconds. Once again: triumph trough an ippon. “I have been training very hard, but this quick victory and a gold medal were very unexpected. I am thrilled,” David De Witte says. “I am very grateful to my coach and to the public to support me!”

About Emilie Bruynbroeck:I am a volunteer contributor at the media desk in Antwerp Expo. I study journalism.
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Upcoming Events Around the World


Date

Event

Location

Oct 17 - 19 2014

Special Olympics Spain Aquatics Championship

The fantastic National Police sports center will hold another Special Olympics competition. This time, for 150 swimmers from all over Spain, along with 30 coaches and 20 delegates. They will enjoy three days of sport, friendship and making a difference.
For more information
More Details
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National Police Sports Center
Ávila, Ávila
SPAIN


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Special Olympics Europe Eurasia
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32 Nassau Street
Dublin 2
Ireland

Office: +353 1 675-5710
Fax: +353 1 707-1748
Email: mrabbitt@specialolympics.org

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Special Olympics Blog

Suneedhi: a Girl, a Clinic, a Dream

For a dental surgeon such as myself, screening was just the first step! i felt we needed to go beyond examinations to ensuring people with intellectual disability got any treatment that they needed. I felt I could help more. read more »

Posted on 2014-09-22 by Lynn

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