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Speech by Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen at the Opening of the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 in Schladming

18.03.2017 | Reden

Dear athletes, 

It is with great pleasure that I would like to welcome you here in Schladming. 

The world’s spotlight will be directed at you over the following days, you who are such highly talented athletes and exercise your various sports with such passion, devotion and energy.  

It is my hope that even after the Special Olympics World Winter Games, this spotlight does not simply turn off, but that it continues to shine – for all those with special needs for whom you can serve as a model in your home countries.  

And all over the world, thousands of children – the next generation of Special Olympics athletes – are waiting and looking forward to be inspired and motivated by you.  

Let us make the Games in Styria a celebration of sports and respect! 

It is in this spirit that 

I declare the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games open.