Renate Götschl and Hans Rinner new ambassadors

The numbers regarding the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 speak volumes:


3,000 athletes

1,100 coaches

110 nations

5,000 family members and friends

3,000 volunteers

800 congress participants

1,000 media representatives

1,200 honored guests


In total no less than 15,000 people will be involved in next year’s worldwide biggest sport event, the World Winter Games for people with intellectual disabilities, taking place between March 14 and 25, 2017 in Styria. The preparations for this huge event are already running full speed since an enormous amount of logistical and organizational work needs to be handled before the “Flame of Hope” will be ignited at Planai Stadium in Schladming during the opening ceremony on March 18, 2017.

For the athletes and their coaches also the days before the official opening ceremony will be exciting and eventful since the so-called Host Town Program is scheduled for March 14-16. It will offer the 3,000 athletes and coaches the possibility to get to know host country Austria from its most beautiful side.

Rotary Austria is playing a key role in this context since the non-profit organization has volunteered to support the organizers of the Host Town Program by welcoming and looking after the international delegations with the intention to offer them the possibility to become more familiar with Austria and the Austrian people during these three days – to really experience the country’s traditions and culture.

All over Austria already 80 Rotary clubs from all nine provinces are on board, which means that it is already guaranteed that 1,800 guests will be looked after. Actually, all Rotary clubs from the Games’ host province Styria are participating in the initiative – they alone will accommodate 450 athletes.

This is a quite impressive (interim) accomplishment which the representatives of Rotary Austria where able to present on the occasion of a press conference on Thursday at the spa facility ‘Therme Nova’ in Köflach. For Assistant Governor Laurenz Maresch it was quite significant that the press conference took place on July 7: “As you know this is a special date and the cooperation between Rotary and the Special Olympics is also special since both institutions live the same values: cordiality, openness and the vision of a better world.” Gerhard Hellmann, Governor of District 1910 (Styria North), added: “This is an initiative which has never even existed in this form. Rotary and the Special Olympics are a very good match. Both organizations carry humanitarian ideas into the world and both offer their service for a good cause.”


New ambassadors Renate Götschl and Hans Rinner


The Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 are pleased to announce two new renowned supporters. In the presence of “long-standing ambassador” Nordic Combined Olympic and World Champion Mario Stecher, former Austrian ski champion Renate Götschl and the President of the Austrian Football League Hans Rinner were presented as new ambassadors during the press conference. Both are looking forward to their new role. Götschl: “I did not have to think twice whether I wanted to do this, it just goes without saying. The Special Olympics are a very important cause and I can already state now: hats off to what we will be able to witness next year in Styria.”

Similarly, Rinner was immediately on fire: “In times like these it is important to tear down barriers and to avoid exclusion. To me the Special Olympics are somehow the epitome of this since their supreme rule is to accept people the way they are. Football in particular can offer a great platform for this cause. Four clubs of the Austrian Football League, namely Rapid Vienna, Austria Vienna, Altach and St. Pölten, are already active regarding inclusion efforts. My personal task will be to gain the support of even more clubs.”

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