Serbian Volleyball Star Vladimir ‘Vanja’ Grbić Joins Special Olympics as Volleyball Ambassador

July 08, 2013

Grbić to help open more opportunities in volleyball for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

300x200-Vladimir-Grbic-volleyball

For Immediate Release

Warsaw, Poland - July 8, 2013 - Legendary volleyball star Vladimir 'Vanja' Grbić has joined Special Olympics as Volleyball Ambassador.  In this role Grbić will build on his already established reputation as one of the world's greatest volleyball players to help spread the Special Olympics message of acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities across the world.  His announcement was made during a Special Olympics Unified Volleyball demonstration match at the final day (Sunday, July 7) of the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship at Stare Jublonk, in Northern Poland.

A member of the Volleyball Hall of Fame, Vladimir Grbić is a two-time Olympic medalist, having won a gold medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics at Sydney and a bronze medal in 1996 at Atlanta. His international victories include a silver medal in the 1998 FIVB World Championship and a gold medal in the 2001 European Volleyball Championship. Grbić is vice president of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia and a member of the FIVB Committee for Development of Volleyball.

"For me Special Olympics athletes represent sport in its purest form," says Vladimir Grbić. "I recognise in them the same joy, passion and drive to reach your personal best that I had when I started to play. I am thrilled to take on this new role."  Grbić has been supporting Special Olympics events in his native Serbia since he attended the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.

As well as championing the rights of people with intellectual disabilities, Grbić will help Special Olympics to raise awareness, resources, and further develop the Movement's sports, health and education programs.

"We are proud to have Vanja as part of the Special Olympics family," said Special Olympics Chairman and CEO Timothy Shriver. "Vanja has demonstrated his genuine commitment to the Special Olympics mission to change the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and raise awareness about their talents and abilities - as well as the injustice, intolerance, isolation, and inactivity they face."

Vladimir Grbić joins a highly motivated group of athletes and celebrities who are dedicated to spreading the Special Olympics movement and message worldwide.  These include names such as NBA legends Yao Ming and Dikembe Mutombo; Olympic medalists Michael Phelps, Michelle Kwan, Apolo Ohno, Scott Hamilton, Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci; recording artist Stevie Wonder; and performer Vanessa Williams.

More than 200 million people worldwide have an intellectual disability, making it the largest disability group worldwide. Intellectual disability crosses racial, ethnic, educational, social and economic lines, and can occur in any family.


About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives through the power of sport by 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 4.2 million athletes in 170 countries worldwide, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and related programs. Special Olympics takes place daily, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities all over the world. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympicsfb.com/specialolympics; youtube.com/specialolympicshq, and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.

Contact

Maureen Rabbitt
Special Olympics International
+353 87 786 6001
mrabbitt@specialolympics.org

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