MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF THE WORLD DAY OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Athens, December 2, 2010
205 Days Before the Games

Dear, Dear Friends,

The tick-tock of the clock counts down the time until the opening day of the Special Olympics World Games ATHENS 2011 is starting to sound more and more intense.

We are only 200 days from the moment you start this global celebration, the premier sports, cultural and educational event of the World 2011 to be hosted by our country. An organization that will participate in 22 sports, 7,500 athletes, 2,500 coaches and 3,000 referees and judges from 185 countries around the world, attracting once more the glare of world opinion in our country.

All Greek citizens believe that they know some basic things about the movement of Special Olympics. That started forty-two years ago, the sister of President of the United States of America Eunice Kennedy – Shriver to create a global society that will not be defined by those who are excluded, but by those covered. That the ambition of the organization is to provide people with intellectual disabilities to participate in sporting and cultural activities which will help smooth their integration into the wider social environment.

That which nevertheless will be like today on the occasion of International Day of Persons with Disabilities is the social dimension of race. The grid not purely athletic initiatives and programs we have created and which we consider an integral, organic part of the event.

There is above all the City”program,”Amphitryon be held from 20 to 24 June 2011kai goal is the one to know the Special Olympics athletes and their coaches Greece and the Greek and the other to give the Greeks, and especially the new-generation opportunity to learn more about the unique skills and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities.

Under the program, the International Missions from 185 countries around the world will participate in the games will be hosted in various regions, towns and islands of our country and Cyprus, knowing first hand the Greek traditions and customs, places andits people.

Our ambition is such as the”City”Amphitryon, provide a fascinating, layered, rich in emotion experience for both the missions of Special Olympics and for members of local communities. That the true athletes, completing the program will now have every reason to consider themselves ambassadors of Greece and our compatriots, respectively, would have raised optimism, inspiration and a smile from contact with them. It is particularly hopeful that already dozens of hotels throughout Greece have registered in the program, while hundreds of young men and women have already submitted applications to contribute as volunteers in this.

A second program, which also attach particular importance is the “Healthy Athletes” which first introduced in 1996, and aims, through free medical examinations to improve health and fitness of athletes Competitors to strengthen their capacity for exercise and to raise the quality of life. Under this program the 7500 athletes with intellectual disabilities to participate in the World Games will receive free medical examination and advice from health professionals volunteers, eight subjects, but students who have equivalent opportunity to become acquainted with the particularhealth care needs of people with intellectual disabilities, thereby creating a significant legacy for the future.

Aiming to put even more forcefully in the case of Special Olympics youth, informing players of tomorrow’s developments on the effort of people with intellectual disabilities, to claim an equal place in society, organize, together with the Special Olympics World Games ATHENS 2011 the Global Youth Summit. The purpose of this meeting is to bring together groups of young people aged 12 to 17 years from around the world, enabling them to express their ideas for creating a society of respect and acceptance, to openly discuss issues that concern them and seek to change.

Furthermore, we are working that through the Sports Experience program and specially designed areas in various parts of Athens, to have the athletes, spectators and visitors to the Games the chance to learn and be tested in different sports.

Inside back from the program called Family Forum would like to offer family members of athletes the opportunity to learn about specific programs Special Olympics and join in a network of friends and supporters with whom they have the same concerns, questions and life experiences be assisted to meet the challenges of everyday life.

More institutional in nature, but equally important, is expected to have the Global Policy Summit, which will take place in Athens during the Games, organizers of the International Committee of the Special Olympics and the Organizing Committee of the Special Olympics World Games ATHENS 2011. As part of this summit, personalities and officials from around the world will discuss and highlight issues related to challenges and equal opportunities for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities, resulting in a Declaration, which will be submitted to O.I . E.

It being understood that during the Games, at key points in Athens will take place a series of cultural events highlighting around the world the message of the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens 2011 in the uniqueness offered by the Greek culture and Greek history.

From my experience of engaging with the worldwide Special Olympics movement for more than two decades, I must say that everyone involved in Special Olympics games are fair, and they themselves-winners. And it is precisely this sense of victory in a sporting universe that is fighting prejudice and discrimination, which invite us to share with them. Do we participate in a world filled with health and light, can say with all our hearts’ I’m inside, “as the motto of our struggles urges.

From experience I would still say that the emotions emitted by the athletes of Special Olympics-speak for more than 3 million people around the world!-Is really unique. The courage and strength of will shown by the camaraderie and love for fellow athlete, is truly unique. It awakens in you an effortless smile, like that of Apollo, the bright sun-mascot of the Games in Athens.

In fact, more than sports movement, Special Olympics is a whole movement of life and culture. And already to some extent contribute to shaping a completely new and totally achievable vision. A humanitarian vision of grandeur in which the importance and role of volunteering, the vision of a global society in which differences are respected, without a cause for stigma for life.

I am confident that the Special Olympics World Games next summer will see only celebration, camaraderie, joy and humanity!And that through the various cultural and educational events, activities and programs for which you previously talked to emerge, perhaps more strongly than ever the social dimension of sport.

There aitherovato not ignore the current, difficult for all times. I am aware that today seems more difficult than the past and the future even more bleak. How often end up feeling surrounded as Greeks, that our country and our life seems to have lost some of its charm … how we lack the vision, we lack the magic …. So perhaps unconsciously, and I use so much these words. Why am I convinced that the Special Olympics World Games ATHENS 2011 is the best opportunity to discover those feelings again. The best opportunity to experience a huge moral experience worthwhile, like a ray of hope, able to exorcise the spiritual darkness that surrounds us. Expression of a new type of genuine humanity.

I then, instead of another option to invite you to share the spirit of victory prevailing in Special Olympics! Stand next to them in practice, doing something throughout the rest of your life will feel justifiably proud. By participating as volunteers, as has already been made by the President of the Republic, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch, the Greek Prime Minister, o Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, hundreds of prominent actors from all sectors of social life for thousands of young men and women from all over Greece and abroad, participating in non-athletic programs, which previously mentioned, support in any way and you think their success.

We expect the wonderful world of Winners!

Gianna Despotopoulou
President
Organizing Committee
World Games
Special Olympics ATHENS 2011

source: http://www.athens2011.org

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