The Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 are currently being held in Austria from March 14-25. More than 2,500 athletes and 1,100 coaches from 107 countries are gathered to compete and celebrate the accomplishments of children and adults with intellectual disabilities around the world.
Winter sports include floorball, floor hockey, stick shooting, figure skating, speed skating, alpine skiing, snowboarding, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. This marks Austria’s second time hosting the World Winter Games (1993), joining the U.S. (1977, 1981, 1985, 1989, 2001, 2009) as the only country to host the games in multiple years.
The Opening Ceremony will be held on Saturday, March 18, as the Flame of Hope will be ignited in Planai Stadium in Schladming. Leading up to the event, a group of 80 international law enforcement officers, 10 national law enforcement officers, 10 international Special Olympic athletes and Austrian police cadets will carry the flame through Austria on a 10-day journey through 50 different cities and towns, crossing all nine Austrian states.
Santa Clara Assistant Chief of Police Dan Winter is serving as part of the Final Leg Team on the Torch Run. Alpine Ski Coach Michele Carmichael from Fresno and referee Randy Klein, who will serve as a floor hockey official, will join Winter in representing Northern California. You can follow their journey by visiting Special Olympics Northern California on Facebook and Twitter @SONorCal and Instagram @SpecialOlympicsNCA.
The Special Olympics World Winter Games Opening Ceremony will be broadcast live on ABC and ESPN beginning at 11 a.m. on March 18. More information is available at www.austria2017.org/en/.