For Immediate Release
Athens, Greece – At a reception in the center of Athens today, foreign media correspondents and press attaches from local Embassies were welcomed by Special Olympics executives to learn more about the organization and their upcoming Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011.
The event served to educate and inform about Special Olympics as a global Movement and also what bringing one of the Movement’s flagship events, Special Olympics World Summer Games, to Athens this summer will mean locally. Media were shown an overview video called Sport Teaches Us and then welcomed by Special Olympics President and COO, Mr. Brady Lum.
“Friends from the media and Embassies, thank you for joining us today. We gather here in Greece just 72 days before the Opening Ceremony of the largest international multi-sport event to happen this year, our Special Olympics World Summer Games. An event that we are excited to bring to the birthplace of modern sport,” said Lum, addressing the press. “Our Games are expected to bring tens of thousands of people to Greece this summer. The impact will be incredible - nearly 110,000 booked hotel room nights, thousands of bookings at local restaurants, hundreds of excursions to the beautiful Greek Isles, thousands of Greek souvenirs bought and memories to last a lifetime,”
The audience was also welcomed by Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011 President, and President of Special Olympics Hellas, Ms. Joanna Despotopoulou. “We are honored to participate in the greatest sports event of 2011 and one which appeals to the essence of humanity. In a world of constant turmoil, financial problems and sheer cynicism, the World Summer Games is the most optimistic and enjoyable experience, that is open to every person of the world. Our mascot, Apollon – the God of Sun in Greek mythology – represents the light, the new, the hope of a better world. We expect you all to attend Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011.”
Special Olympics Vice President of Branding and Communications, Mrs. Kirsten Suto Seckler, explained to journalists the key stories of the Games and showed a sample video from the 2007 World Games, a video featuring Special Olympics athlete Simon Mothibi.
Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011 Director of Media Operations, Mr. Kostas Vernikos, explained all of the details on how media can register to cover Games. Global media professionals, including print, online, broadcast and photo press, are invited to apply for accreditation to cover the World Games in Athens by applying online and then clicking the media registration form button to complete and submit registration.
In closing, Special Olympics Hellas athlete Nadia Lainou explained to media how much Special Olympics has impacted her life. She is excited to represent Greece and participate in the upcoming World Games in cycling.
Thousands of people will converge in Athens in just a few short weeks to celebrate the 7,000 Special Olympics athletes representing nearly 180 countries competing in the World Games. From 25 June - 4 July, the world's most inspiring athletes will compete in 22 different Olympic-type sports. The 13th Special Olympics World Summer Games will be the largest sporting event held in the world in 2011 and the first major sporting event in Athens since the Olympics were held there in 2004. Tickets to Opening and Closing ceremonies are available for sale now at www.ticketnet.gr.
Every two years, thousands of Special Olympics athletes worldwide come together to showcase their athletic skills and celebrate the spirit of Special Olympics. The first Special Olympic World Games took place in 1968 and since then have evolved into a world-class sporting event, attracting a wide range of sponsors, supporters and media. Alternating between Summer Games and Winter Games, Special Olympics World Games bring public attention to the talents and capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities, helping to change attitudes and break down barriers that excluded them from the mainstream of the community.
For information about the upcoming Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011, visit the Games’ official website at www.athens2011.org. People are also encouraged to learn more at the following online channels:
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more nearly 3.5 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in places like China and from regions like the Middle East to the community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood’s backyard. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.
About Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011 (Greek):
ΟιΠαγκόσμιοιΑγώνες Special Olympics, ΑΘΗΝΑ 2011 θαδιεξαχθούν απότις 25 Ιουνίουέωςτις 4 Ιουλίου 2011. Στους Αγώνες θα συμμετάσχουν πάνω από 7.000 αθλητές και 2.500 προπονητές από 180 χώρες, 3.000 κριτές/διαιτητές, 40.000 μέλη οικογενειών των αθλητών, 25.000 εθελοντές, ενώ τη διοργάνωση θα καλύψουν 3.000 δημοσιογράφοι απ΄όλο τον κόσμο.