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Countdown Under Way for Special Olympics in PyeongChang
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An international sporting event for the intellectually disabled will kick off in a South Korean alpine town of PyeongChang in two weeks, with more than 3,000 athletes from 111 countries taking part in the biennial competition.

From Jan. 29 to Feb. 5, PyeongChang, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul, will host the country's first Special Olympics World Winter Games. There will be seven sports, including alpine skiing, snowboarding, speed skating and figure skating, plus one demonstration sport, floorball.

The Special Olympics World Games have been held every two years since 1968, and they alternate between summer and winter editions. The winter version was introduced in 1977.


Na Kyung-won, chief organizers of the 2013 PyeongChang Special Olympics World Winter Games, speaks during a promotional event in Seoul on Jan. 14, 2013. (Yonhap)

Under the motto "Together We Can," the organizers said they hope to raise awareness of those with intellectual disabilities in South Korea and to help improve their plight.

"The Special Olympics World Games features challenging and inspiring international competition among thousands of athletes, making it the world's second-largest sports event, after the Olympic Games," the organizers said in a statement. "This event is the flagship event of the Special Olympics movement, which promotes equality, tolerance and acceptance around the world."

Anyone over the age of 8 with intellectual disabilities can participate in the Special Olympics. The Special Games don't keep track of medal tallies for participating countries. The top three finishers in each event are awarded medals but all finalists also receive ribbons.

The athletes' oath in these competitions is "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

The Special Olympics movement was founded by the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a younger sister of the former U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Timothy Shriver, son of Eunice, is currently the chairman of Special Olympics International, the governing body of the Special Games.

Source Text


Source: Yonhap News (Jan. 14, 2012)

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