Olympic medalist and World Champion swimmer Robbie Renwick has today (Thursday 23 November) thrown his support behind the launch of Special Olympics GB’s landmark Anniversary Games.
Special Olympics GB is delighted to announce it is staging its Anniversary Games, hosted by Special Olympics Scotland, in Stirling in August 2018.
The Anniversary Games will celebrate both Special Olympics GB's 40th birthday (SOGB was founded in 1978) and also the 50th birthday of the worldwide Special Olympics global movement, which was set up in 1968 by President JFK’s sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
Robbie, who will attend the launch, said: “Participating in sport gave me the best experiences in my life. Putting in hard work and seeing results is a great feeling. Sport brings people together and that’s exactly what Special Olympics does every day for people with learning disability.”
Special Olympics GB is the largest provider of year round sports training and competition opportunities for people with intellectual (learning) disabilities in England, Scotland and Wales and was founded in 1978.
Special Olympics GB Anniversary Games will involve approximately 1,200 athletes and 400 coaches and officials. As well as athletes from all GB Regions, a number of European countries will be invited to take part in the Games.
All athletes and coaches will be accommodated on campus at the University of Stirling.
An estimated 2,500 family members will attend these Games and access to watch all sports will be free to the public.
Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “We are delighted that the University of Stirling will host the Special Olympics Anniversary Games in August 2018.
“As Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, Stirling is proud to be affiliated with this event, which celebrates the excellent work of the Special Olympics in transforming lives through the joy of sport while striving to end discrimination.
“At Stirling, we’re proud that the work of our staff, students and alumni makes a tangible difference to people’s lives around the world – and that’s clearly a passion we share with Special Olympics. As a keen sports fan, I am looking forward to seeing some of the wide range of sports – including swimming, cycling, football and table tennis.
“We look forward to giving the 1,200 athletes, their families, support staff and fans a warm Stirling welcome when they arrive on campus next year.”
Karen Wallin, CEO of Special Olympics GB, said: “We are thrilled that Stirling and its University’s excellent facilities will be hosting our very special Anniversary Games in August 2018. This will not only celebrate our 40th anniversary in Great Britain and 50 years of Special Olympics worldwide but also give over a thousand Special Olympics athletes the chance to compete in a prestigious Games and make new friends and memories.”
Special Olympics GB’s Anniversary Games are also being supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, said: “EventScotland is delighted to be supporting the Anniversary Games and to be welcoming so many athletes and teams, as well as families and spectators, to Scotland to be a part of the event.
“Stirling will provide the perfect stage for Games and for the remarkable celebration as we mark the 40th birthday of Special Olympics GB, and five decades of work across the world of the Special Olympics movement.
“The Special Olympics is itself a hugely important movement and it will be exciting for us to welcome those involved in it from all corners of the UK, as well as further afield in Europe, to be a part of marking that legacy of achievement.”
All the sports at the Anniversary Games, other than golf, will be based at the University of Stirling. All sports are listed below:
Plus a special ‘Play Unified’ event – activity of athletes with and without learning disability playing and competing together.
The Games will also include a Fan Zone, a Healthy Athletes’ Programme and a Family Zone housed in marquees in the University of Stirling. There will be a Games Opening Ceremony and a Closing Ceremony.