SOGB logoSpecial Olympics Great Britain has announced a team of 21 athletes with learning disabilities – 11 alpine skiers and 10 figure skaters – who will compete at the 2017 World Winter Games.

The Special Olympics World Winter Games is one of the biggest events in the movement’s global calendar and held every four years. It will be held in Graz and Schladming in the Styria region of Austria from March 14-25 and almost 3,000 athletes from 110 nations will compete in 9 Olympic-type winter sports.

It is the world’s largest sports and humanitarian event in 2017 and will be helped to be hosted by Hollywood star and honorary president of the games, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Special Olympics GB alpine skiing team comprises: Lauren Cain, Tyler Charleston, David Corr, Anthony Coulson, Joanne Desmond, James Millard, Karen Oosthuizen, Rebecca Owen, Lauren Payne, Alexander Scarborough and Owen Stephen. The team will be led by head coach Liam de Vanney, assisted by coaches Pete Jesse and Josh Murphy.

Meanwhile, the figure skating team includes: Eloise Carruthers, Steph Gott, Jenny Lee, Meg McFarlane, Heather McNeil, Jonathan McSalley, Callum Mills, Courtney Montgomery, Calum Titmus and Graeme Watson. The team’s head coach is Louisa Chatwin, assisted by coaches Paul Crocker, Pam Richardson-Delaney and Ann Stokes. 

Tim Shriver, global chairman of Special Olympics, said: “On behalf of our entire Special Olympics movement worldwide, I am thrilled to award our 2017 World Games to Graz and Schladming in the beautiful state of Styria.

“Austria was the first country outside the U.S. to host a Special Olympics World Games and helped us show the world the gifts and talents of our Special Olympics athletes.

“It is fitting that we would return to a country that has demonstrated its commitment to people with intellectual disabilities for decades and will embrace our athletes from around the world.”