Idaho (USA) to Host 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games

May 17, 2006, 01:00 ET from Special Olympics

    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
     "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
     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

SOURCE Special Olympics