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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Special Olympics 2017 World Games in Austria March 14-25

 In less than a month, 2,700 Special Olympics athletes from 107 countries will gather in Austria to show the world their talent, bravery, determination, and spirit.  Please join us in celebrating the Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 (14-25 March).  We'll send you short, regular updates as we prepare for Games, and provide you with the best stories once the Games are underway.

Sports Means Breaking Free from Stigma

Li Xiang, Special Olympics China
In China, people with intellectual disabilities can face stigma from the start of life. For decades, even the words for people with disabilities included a slur: ascanfei ren, literally “disabled garbage people.”
But the parents of Li Xiang found a ray of hope when Li was old enough to join Special Olympics. For the first time, his family began to see ways that Li could succeed. Sports helped him physically and motivated him to improve. At age 11, Li was one of the youngest competitors at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games. He won a gold medal, two silver and two bronze medals in artistic gymnastics. Now, at age 13, he will still be among the youngest competitors at World Games in Austria – taking on a completely new challenge: speedskating. Read his full story and watch video of Li Xiang here.

For Officers, the Torch Run Is an Affirmation of the Human Spirit

Officer Darren Derby -- Law Enforcement Torch Run
When Darren Derby, a police officer from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, grabs the Special Olympics torch, it's more than just a charity run.  It is a transformative experience that keeps him grounded and reminds him of why he was called to protect and serve.
"The job brings a tremendous amount of stress. Our days are pretty much filled with everybody else's bad days," he said. "If it wasn't for Special Olympics and the athletes and the joy they bring us, I probably wouldn't still be in this profession." 

Derby is one of 126 law enforcement professionals who will carry the torch through Austria next month, as it works it way to Opening Ceremonies in Schladming. Read his full story.

World Games Opening, Closing Ceremonies Tickets Now Available

Know someone who will be in Austria for the Special Olympics World Games 2017? Need tickets for Opening or Closing Ceremonies? Both are on sale now. Order online here

SOURCE: Press Release Special Olympics World Games

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