WASHINGTON, May 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Special Olympics global headquarters announced today that Idaho (USA) will be the host site for the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games, after a decision was made by the International Special Olympics Board of Directors at their meeting on May 16. Similar in size to a Winter Olympics, the 2009 World Winter Games will attract more than 2,000 athletes from 100 nations to compete in seven Olympic-type sports. Other finalist sites were: Reno-Tahoe (Nevada, USA); Schladming-Graz (Austria) and Garmisch Partenkirchen (Germany). Following in the footsteps of Nagano, Japan, the host of the 2005 World Winter Games and joining Shanghai, China, the host of the upcoming 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games, this event will be the largest multi- sport event ever held in the state of Idaho. Possible sports venues include Tamarack Resort, Bogus Basin, Taco Bell Arena, Qwest Arena, Idaho Ice World, Boise Centre on the Grove and Boise State University "After review of a comprehensive bid proposal and a visit by the Special Olympics World Games site selection committee, it was proven that Idaho provides excellent sports venues, incredible community support and unprecedented passion for the athletes of our movement," said Jimmy Carnes, Special Olympics Board Member and Chair of the World Games Site Selection Committee. "Special Olympics World Winter Games provide a global stage for our athletes to showcase their talents and we invite the world to join our world of welcome -- a world of inclusion and mutual respect, without bias or prejudice," added Timothy Shriver, Chairman of the Special Olympics Board. The 2009 World Games bid was prepared by Jim and Pirie Grossman of Destiny Productions and endorsed by many including: Senator Larry Craig, Senator Michael D. Crapo, Representative C.L. "Butch" Otter, Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne, Boise Mayor David Bieter and Special Olympics Idaho. The honorary Board of Directors includes celebrities such as Clint Eastwood, Picabo Street, Teresa Heinz Kerry and John Kerry, and Bobby Farrelly. "This is a magical opportunity for the people of Idaho to show the world what we can do," said Pirie Grossman. "We are honored to have been selected and can't wait to get down to the business at hand." In addition to world-class competition in Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, floor hockey, snowboarding, snowshoe racing and speed skating, the 2009 World Winter Games will also provide a venue for global discussions and action on the impact Special Olympics can make on the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. More than 190 million people worldwide have an intellectual disability, making it the largest disability group worldwide. Intellectual disability crosses racial, ethnic, educational, social and economic lines, and can occur in any family. Every two years, thousands of Special Olympics athletes worldwide come together to showcase their athletic skills and celebrate the spirit of Special Olympics. The first Special Olympics World Games took place in 1968 and, since then, has evolved into a world-class sporting event, attracting a wide range of sponsors, supporters and media. Alternating between Summer Games and Winter Games, World Games bring public attention to the talents and capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities, helping to change attitudes and break down barriers that excluded them from the mainstream of the community. About Special Olympics Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Through year-round sports training and athletic competition and other related programming for more than 2.25 million children and adults with intellectual disabilities in more than 150 countries, Special Olympics has created a model community that celebrates people's diverse gifts. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. There is no cost to participate in Special Olympics. Visit Special Olympics at http://www.specialolympics.org.
SOURCE Special Olympics