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
"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
"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
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
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.