Korea wins Special Olympics

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Pyeongchang, Korea will be the host site for the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games, after a decision was made by the Special Olympics International Board of Directors.

The 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games will attract more than 2, 500 athletes from 105 nations to compete in seven Olympic–type sports. At a press event in Seoul in September 2010 a memorandum of agreement was signed by congresswoman Na Kyung Won, chairperson of the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games Preparatory Committee, and Nadia Comaneci, Olympic Gold Medalist and vice chair of the Special Olympics International Board of Directors. Also present were minister of culture, sports and tourism Yu Inchon; governor Lee Kwang Jae of Gangwon Provincial Government; governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger; Olympic Gold Medalist and member of Special Olympics International Board of Directors, Bart Conner; actress and Special Olympics global ambassador, Zhang Ziyi; Special Olympics Korea athlete, Kim Min Young; Special Olympics Korea chair, Woo Kee Jung; Special Olympics Korea senior vice chair, Kim Byeong Deok; and newly announced 2013 Special Olympics Games ambassador, Yunjin Kim. Following in the footsteps of Boise, Idaho, USA, the host of the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games, and joining Athens, Greece, the host of the upcoming 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games, this event will be one of the largest winter multi–sport events ever held in Korea. Possible sports venues include Alpensia Nordic Centre for nordic skiing, Alpensia Biathlon Centre for snowshoeing, Yong Pyong Resort for alpine skiing and snowboarding, Yong Pyong Dome for figure skating and Gangneung Skating Arena for speed skating. " After review of a comprehensive bid proposal and a visit by the Special Olympics World Games site selection committee, it was proven that Korea provides excellent sports venues, incredible community support and unprecedented passion for the athletes of our movement, " said member of the Special Olympics International Board of Directors, Bart Conner. " Special Olympics World Winter Games provide a global stage for our athletes to showcase their talents and we invite the world to join our world of welcome – a world of inclusion and mutual respect, without bias or prejudice, " added Timothy P Shriver, chairman and CEO of Special Olympics International. " I cannot think of a better place than Pyeongchang, Korea for these upcoming Winter World Games where the world will unite through sport. " Congresswoman Na Kyung Won, chairperson for the Preparatory Committee of the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games stated: " The Special Olympics World Winter Games will take another step forward and South Korea is eager to make it happen. Unlike 60years ago when South Korea was the beneficiary of support from other nations, today we are extending our help to support others. As a nation, we are ready and willing to make a difference in the world today and are committed to hosting a successful 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games and extending to all who attend the warmth and hospitality of our citizens. " In addition to world–class competition in alpine skiing, cross–country skiing, figure skating, floor hockey, snowboarding, snowshoe racing and speed skating, the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games will also provide a venue for global discussions and action on the impact Special Olympics can have on the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. More than 200m 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. 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. The next Special Olympics World Games will be the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games to be held in Athens, Greece, 25 June through 4 July, 2011. More information about those upcoming Games can be found at http://www. athens2011. org. About Special OlympicsSpecial Olympics is an international organisation 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. 5m 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 realise their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at http://www. specialolympics. org.

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