Special Olympics World Wintergames
From 29 January through 5 February 2013, the town of Pyeong Chang, South Korea, will host the biggest wintersport event of 2013: the Special Olympics World Winter Games! More than 2,300 sportsmen and women with a mental disability will travel to South Korea from 127 countries to compete against each other, encouraged by family, friends and supporters from all over the world. The programme includes 7 different sport disciplines at 6 different locations. The Netherlands will of course be present at this, the most sporting of all sports events. Team Netherlands will consist of 21 sportsmen and women and the team will be taking part in 3 disciplines: cross-country skiing, short track speed skating and alpine skiing. After their return, the team will be honoured at Rabobank's offices in Utrecht on 16 February.
Rabobank Foundation partner of the Special Olympics
Special Olympics Netherlands organises sporting events for people with a mental disability. The Dutch organisation has been active for nearly 20 years and works closely with the national federation for disabled sports, Gehandicaptensport Nederland. The international organisation was founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of the former American President John F. Kennedy. In 1963, she organised a summer camp for people with a mental disability, and this turned into an annual event. Soon afterwards, in 1968, the international organisation was founded and there are now more than half a million volunteers organising activities across thirty sports for more than 3.4 million participants in over 200 countries world-wide! The events are held at local, regional, national and international level throughout the year. The competitions are open to all, regardless of the level of disability. Sportsmen and women are classified into divisions on the basis of their performance and this gives everyone within a division an equal chance of winning.
Through Rabobank Foundation, and alongside a number of other organisations, Rabobank is the main sponsor of Special Olympics Netherlands. Local Rabobanks are often involved in regional and national sporting events for the disabled. In 2012, Rabobank 's-Hertogenbosch helped facilitate the national Special Olympics, and that honour will fall to the Rabobanks in Sneek and Heerenveen when the Special Olympics are held in the province of Friesland in 2014.
The Olympic Team will be given a rousing send-off by their families, sponsors and friends when they fly out to South Korea on Friday 25 January. If you are interested in the preparations and the presentation of the team, please see: http://www.specialolympics.nl/filmpjes-zuid-korea