Olympics athletes, coaches and support teams wore armbands in a salute
to the late South African president and international icon for
inclusion, equality and freedom.
and his children’s foundation worked with Special Olympics founder
Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her organisation to reach out to people with
intellectual disabilities and their families.
Mandela’s words, “The Special Olympics gives testimony to the
indestructability of the human spirit and of our capacity to overcome
hardships and obstacles.
“When you attend a Special Olympics games and watch the sheer joy and faces – not just of the athletes, but more overwhelmingly among spectators – you begin to realise there is much more at work than simply athletic competition. It is a profound statement of inclusion – that everybody matters, everybody counts, every life has value and every person has worth.”
week-long Games, which brought together 2,500 athletes from 29
countries, was a showcase of quality competition celebrating the talents
and abilities of people with an intellectual disability.
Special Olympics Australia Board, Mark Streeting said, “President
Mandela taught us about the power of the human spirit. And as we honour
this incredible man, we should all think about
how we can continue his legacy through inspiring those in our
communities to live in a way that respects others.”
Mel Eustace, Athlete Games Ambassador said, “On behalf of all the athletes, we thank the Newcastle – Hunter community, and the 5,000 dedicated volunteers for welcoming and supporting us to achieve our personal best.“
McNeilly, General Manager Special Olympics Australia said “Thank-you,
Aussie spirit is alive and well at Special Olympics the business and
community has dug deep to deliver our first ever
international games. Remarkable volunteers making dreams come true for
so many who have daily life challenges to play sport and celebrate their
Games also held a number of events throughout the week, including the
Law Enforcement Torch Run®, Healthy Athletes®, Health Symposium, Young
Athletes™ and Unified Sports® Experience.
Olympics International CEO Janet Froetscher and Football Legend
Hidetoshi Nakata attended the Games, along with other dignitaries and
leaders from the Asia Pacific Region to witness
the inspiring power of sports to transform and enrich the lives of
people with an intellectual disability.