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Athens to Host 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games

President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, speaks at the event.

President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, speaks at the event.

Athens officially announced it would host the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games planned for June 25th to July 4th.  Present at the event held at Athens Concert Hall were President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias, members of the Greek parliament, 38 ambassadors to Greece as well as athletes and supporters of the Special Olympics movement. The World Games are expected to unite some 7,500 athletes from more than 170 countries.

Special Olympics Chief of World Games Lee Todd and Special Olympics International Board Director and athlete, Stacey Johnston, signed the 2011 World Games Memorandum of Agreement with Deputy Minister of Culture Responsible for Sports Yiannis Ioannidis, 2011 World Games Organizing Committee President Joanna Despotopoulou, and 2011 World Games Board Member and Special Olympics Hellas Athlete Nadia Lianou.

The 2011 World Games logo was also unveiled at the event. Designed by Theodora Mantzari of the 2004 Olympic Committee, the logo of the 2011 World Games is a radiant sun with an olive branch and spiral in the center of the sun.

Thirteen Goodwill Ambassadors were announced who will spearhead communication of the messages of solidarity, respect and acceptance that the World Games represent. The ambassadors all represent Greek media outlets and each individual was presented with a medal and papyrus certificate.

The Special Olympics International Board of Directors selected Athens as the host of the 2011 World Summer Games in June 2007. In October, 2007 representatives of the 2011 Games Organizing Committee were handed the Special Olympics flag during the Closing Ceremony of the 2007 World Summer Games, hosted by Shanghai, China. This symbolic act signified Athens as the next host of the World Summer Games.

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