Only 50 days left to the Pre-Games in Graz, Schladming and Ramsau!

The next significant date arrives on 21st November 2015, it will be exactly 50 days until the Pre- Games in Graz, Schladming and Ramsau. The “dress rehearsal”, for the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017, opens on 10th January 2016 where 1,100 athletes from 23 Nations compete for champion status over eight sport categories. For the athletes the Pre-Games are an important step on the way to the Special Olympics World Winter Games in March 2017 because, after all, they must meet certain criteria, such as the participation in national and international events to qualify for these Special Olympics World Winter Games!

It is also significant for the organizers of "Austria2017", the Pre-Games is an important milestone in the preparation for the big event 18 months away. "For us, it is an important rehearsal, when we test the interaction of vital groups such as clubs, volunteers, sponsors and employees", explains the two Austria2017 Managing Directors, Marc Angelini and Markus Pichler. The Pre-Games will deliver decisive information, identifing areas in need of improvements and verifying areas that are progressing as planned. "Basically we are still 18 months out, but of course preparations, despite being so far under way, will still be ongoing up until a few days before the commencement of the Pre-Games", says Pichler. The Organizing Committee has worked diligently and completed their "contemplative advent" and now over the next 50 days they will be in high-gear. "We are very optimistic concerning the organization of the Pre-Games. Our entire team is extremely motivated and demonstrates great energy", the Managing Director proudly states.


Sports Competitions:

The Pre-Games will be held in the following locations for 2017: Schladming (Alpine skiing and snowboard) and Ramsau (Nordic skiing and snowshoeing). In Graz, the Helmut List Halle (curling) as well as events held in the Eishalle Liebenau (figure skating and speed skating), and the blue box of the HIB Liebenau (Floorball). It is also at the Pre-Games that ‘motor activity training program "(MATP) will be offered in Schladming (congress). These are competitions specifically for people with higher needs.


Host-Town & Healthy Athletes Programs

The Host Town Program is an old tradition of the Special Olympics, whereby international athletes get to spend in three days a selected location (town) in the host country to learn about the country, it’s traditions and it’s people. The Host Town Program is active for the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 and the delegations on all over Austria to be divided before the Pre-Games (8 - 10 January), on a smaller scale. The international teams
in Maria Lankowitz, Stainz, St. Stefan will be determined as to whether Stainz and Lannach are assigned as their quarters.

Also a special Healthy Athletes Program is offered on 9th January. An extensive study of healthy foreign athletes are available. Many of these athletes do not have access to this level of study in their home countries, so it is a great opportunity for them. The participation is free of charge and on a voluntary basis and will take place in the premises of the Graz Joanneum University of Applied Sciences.

Of course, the Pre-Games comes with it’s own Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The opening ceremony will be held on January 10 in Schladming and is free of charge to the public. In the nearly two-hour event, in addition to a ski show, also the Olympic Torch will be lit and the flag hoisted, both significant symbols of The Games.

Musical highlights to be enjoyed are: Opus and Tagträumer and dancing group Ich bin O.K. as well RoseMay, sister of football star David Alaba.

Then on January 14, there will be two small closing parties at "Congress Schladming" (with Hackbrett) and in the Graz Helmut List Hall follow (with the cult band Egon7 and a spectacular dance show).


Torch Run: 8 January 2016, Graz

The torch run also has a big role at the Special Olympics World Games. The Olympic flame, which is lit in Athens is worn as a sign of the games through several countries before it enters the host cities. In 2017, this "torch run" will take place across Europe. In the run-up to the Pre-Games there will be also a small torch run that is carried out in the morning of 8th January in the Graz City Centre.



Pre-Games 2016 Dates & Facts:

Dates: 10 - 15 January 2016

Host Cities: Graz, Schladming-Rohrmoos and Ramsau

10th January: Opening Ceremony in Schladming (WM-Stadion Planai) with Opus, Alaba-sister Rose May and Tagträumer (at 6:00pm - Free Admission)

11 - 14 January: Sporting competitions

14 January: Closing Ceremony in Schladming (at 7:00pm) and Graz (Helmut List Halle, at 7:00pm) with Egon 7 (Free Admission)


Sporting Competitions:
Figure skating and speed skating (Eishalle Liebenau, Graz)
Stock sports (Graz, Helmut list Hall)
Floorball (Graz, bluebox HIB Liebenau); There's info about the sport:
Alpine skiing and snowboarding (Schladming-Rohrmoos, RWY 32)
Nordic skiing and snowshoeing (Ramsau, Stadium)
More details on each sports competitions can be found on!


Supporting Associations:

WSV Ramsau (Nordic skiing and snowshoeing)
WSV Schladming (Alpine skiing and snowboard)
The Austrian Floorballverband (Floorball)
Graz Ice Skating Association (figure skating)
Short Track speed skating Grazer Dragons (speed skating)
ESV old toll Seiersberg (stock sports).


Free Admission: On all days (including Opening and Closing Ceremonies)

Volunteers: 650 (approx.)

Accommodation: Almost 7,500 overnight stays in total.
(Graz: 2,500; Schladming:1,750 and Ramsau (3,250)



National Delegations (Austria): 880 athletes approx.
(including 21 unified partners and 400 trainers)

International delegations: 150 athletes and 70 coaches approx. from 22 countries (Belgium, China, Denmark, Germany, Finland, United Kingdom, Holland, Iceland, Japan, Jordan, Qatar, Croatia, Luxembourg, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, United States, U.A.E.)


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