Only 200 days until the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017
The Olympics Games in Rio have come and gone. The Paraolympics, games for people with physical disabilities, will also happen in Rio de Janeiro and start in a few days. However the Special Olympics World Winter Games, die WWG for people with intellectual disabilities, have their own very memorable date to show off: As of today, August 26th it is another 200 days exactly until the kick-off of the Games!
March 14th through the 25th of 2017, Austria or better yet Graz, Schladming and Ramsau will be the center of the sports world. More than 3.000 participants from over a 100 nations will compete in 9 different sports and strive for the precious medals. This will be an event of extraordinary value. Austria is in the unique position to host the Special Olympics for a second time since 1993 (back then in Schladming and Salzburg) – Austria to be the only other country besides the USA to be hosting World Games more than once.
Largest red-white-red delegation of all times
Austria plays a very special part in the Special Olympics movement. This is partly because of the ongoing efforts by famous people such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has also agreed to be the official patron for the Games in 2017 or Hermann Kröll, President of Special Olympics Austria, as well as the outstanding achievements of our many national athletes. They in return have won countless medals at the various Summer and Winter World Games in the last few decades.
The importance of Austria will definitely show at the Home Games in March 2017: „Team Austria“ will by far be the largest delegation – never before in the history of Special Olympics has Austria participated with such a large team. As many as 331 athletes, 82 coaches and 10 Unified-Partners will represent Red-White-Red at the largest sport event in the next year.
Partly due to the large success they have had in the past as well as for the fact that Austria plays a pioneering role world wide. The spots (for starting places in the sports) are determined by Special Olympics International (SOI) and depend on various factors such as results at national events/sport meet, credentials, level of accreditation status and type of program.
„Our delegation, a total of 423 people, is an absolutely incredible size considering the size of our small country Austria“, says Ludmilla Remler excitedly, who is project manager for „Team Austria“. As a comparison: To the Summer World Games in 2015 in Los Angeles a mere 149, to the WWG in 2013 in South Korea only 92 Austrian participants travelled to.“ The ranges of sizes in Nations will also be reflected a the Winter Games 2017: The US will have 192 participants, Canada 147, India 113, China 109 and Germany 107 will visit Styria with more than 100 athletes and coaches. A lot smaller however will be the delegations from Armenia and Bolivia who with each visit with 2 athletes and one coach and compete at the World Winter Games.
Candidates for Medals from all parts of the Country
To have such a large delegations also brings its challenges – economically as well as logistically, explains Remler: „We had never faced anything like this before in regards to the World Games. Special Olympics Austria does indeed cover the majority of the financial responsibilities for each athlete as well as provides support to achieve international guidelines“. Each local athlete who will participate at the World Winter Games had to complete a two year training program and compete at national and regional sport events plus must have already participated at the Pre-Games this past January. In addition several multi day training camps and seminars were provided. „In the preparation for the upcoming Games we have left no room for errors, we want to present a perfectly prepared team for which we will have high hopes for. In each division, in each sport and from all parts of the country we have athletes with chances for medals“, Remler reassures .
However the huge effort that goes into the preparations of this event of such magnitude stands in no comparison with the expected sustainability: „Because we are able to work closely with public, social and political offices in the process, we have set many important and positive impulses for the future“, states Remler.
Find all our national athletes and their info under
108 Nations will compete for the Medals
We have our complete team Austria and even most international Delegations have confirmed their participation. It appears that these will be the largest World Winter Games in the history of Special Olympics. As of today we have more than 3600 athletes, coaches and Unified-Partners from 108 Nations who will compete for medals in Austria.
Team Austria & Delegations