Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games (Idaho, USA)

From 7-13 February 2009, Boise, Idaho (USA), will host the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games, which is expected to attract up to 3,000 athletes from more than 85 nations to compete in seven Olympic-type sports: Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, floor hockey, snowboarding, snowshoe racing and speed skating. This will be the largest multi-sport event ever held in the state of Idaho. With thousands of volunteers, coaches, family members and supporters joining the athletes, the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games promises to be a truly unique opportunity for the world to witness how the universal language of sport can show the very best of the human spirit and all that it encompasses.
The first International Special Olympics Games was held in 1968 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. However, the concept began to unfold six years earlier at a place called Camp Shriver, a day camp started by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1962 focusing on physical activity for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Sponsored by the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., Foundation, the number of camps grew to 32 sites across the United States and served over 10,000 children with intellectual disabilities. Workshops were created across the country to educate recreation directors of the benefits of recreational activity for individuals with intellectual disabilities. By 1967, Anne Burke, a workshop teacher, along with Dr. William Freeburg, the Chairman of Recreation and Outdoor Education Department at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois, teamed up with Shriver and the Kennedy Foundation to host the first ever International Special Olympics Games where over 1,000 athletes from the United States and Canada competed. Today, Special Olympics serves more than 2.8 million people with intellectual disabilities in over 200 programs in 180 countries worldwide.
The mission of the Special Olympics is to provide year-round training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic type sports to children and adults with intellectual disabilities in order to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

The Games will bring an estimated $5-7 million dollar economic boost to the area during a winter when the national economy is expected to negatively impact the tourism season.

5 comments:

Sue said...

I can but only imagine what a wonderful time all these athletes will be having and wish our boys and girls in the GB Team the good luck they deserve. They were with Lord Coe yesterday here in London and he gave to them 2012 Olympic Shirts as a good luck present. Lots of smiles and lots of happy people-that's what sport has bought into their lives. Go for it GB

steph/paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the bishops said...

Good luck to the British ski team. Come on Craig Hannah!!!!

Sue said...

We are all routing for the whole of the GB Ski Teamteam but as two Surrey Skiers are in the Squad 'Go For It Jonathan & Greg' - Best Wishes from all the athletes mat Special Olympics Surrey

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