Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Special Olympics National Summer Games hailed a success

GBspecialolympicsThe Special Olympics Great Britain National Summer Games have been hailed as a success by the 17 heads of delegation, athletes, their families and the many members of the public who came along to cheer.

Some 1,700 athletes from England, Scotland and Wales competed in Bath and Bristol over three days from August 28.

The Games kicked off in spectacular style with an Opening Ceremony at the Royal Crescent, Bath, with an audience of 7,000. Performers at the ceremony included Susan Boyle, Claire Teal, Colin Salmon, Attik Dance and Urban Parkour.

Karen Wallin, chief executive of Special Olympics GB, said: “In my wildest dreams I could not have wished for a more successful event. The athletes, who all have intellectual disabilities, have gone home smiling and with amazing memories.

“Being able to make use of the world-class facilities at the University of Bath was a tremendous experience for all the competitors and many personal bests were smashed on the field of play. All the athletes thoroughly enjoyed being able to stay together on the University campus and cheer on their fellow team mates taking part in other sports.

“Ahead of the Games we had amazing support from Coca-Cola Great Britain, and the Coca-Cola Foundation. They really got behind the movement in promoting the Games through prime advertising space in Piccadilly Circus, cross-track sites on London Underground, in print and online. The 12 athletes who were the subject of the campaign were thrilled to see posters appearing in their home towns. Special Olympics GB has never received this level of advertorial support for its National Summer Games before. The Coca-Cola Foundation also subsidised the costs for every athlete attending the Games which made a big difference to the 17 regional delegations and funded the Healthy Athletes Programme at the Games.

“It was also great to have Sport England support us as a Games Partner for the largest multi-sports disability event of the year. Their backing really helps to underline the transformational value of sport in the lives of people of all ages with intellectual disabilities.

“The Games have been a superb celebration of the achievement of our athletes; they’ve had a fantastic time and lots of medals have been won.”

Wallin added that some of the athletes who took part in the Summer Games are now waiting to learn if they are in with a chance of being selected to take part in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles in 2015.

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