More than 10,000 people with and without disabilities united this weekend at an open-air festival concert in Newcastle, Australia to celebrate the closing of the inaugural Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games, and to honor the legacy of Special Olympics supporter, Nelson Mandela. Special Olympics athletes, coaches and support teams observed a minute of silence as a salute to the late South African president and international icon for inclusion, equality and freedom. During the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Dublin, Ireland, Mandela famously said,“When you attend a Special Olympics games and watch the sheer joy and faces – not just of the athletes, but more overwhelmingly among spectators – you begin to realize there is much more at work than simply athletic competition. It is a profound statement of inclusion – that everybody matters, everybody counts, every life has value and every person has worth.”
About Karyn Tan: I am the Communications Manager for the Asia Pacific Region for Special Olympics.