Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017

„Heartbeat for the world“, was the motto of this year´s Special Olympics World Winter Games, the worldwide largest winter sports event for people with mental impairments and which took place from March 14 to 25. More than 2600 athletes from 105 nations, 1100 trainer, 5000 family members, 3000 volunteers and 600 journalists and media representatives were present at the sporting venues at Graz, Schladming and Ramsau am Dachstein. Eight days of competition resulted in about 1000 medals.

In total, the World Winter Games were the initial impulse for a new culture of exchange which was characterized by openness, warmth and by working together instead of against each other. This was also easily seen even before the competitions began: with the Torch Run and the enthusiastic realization of the Host Town program in the whole of Austria.

The people realizing and participating in both programs were significantly responsible for the more than a thousand people who witnessed the competitions as well as the award ceremonies and therefore were responsible for those countless moments of heart-warming emotions as well as the exuberant atmosphere at all the venues. 

And there is even more good news: apart from a few mild injuries, there were no complications whatsoever during this beautiful event. 

Jürgen Winter, President of Special Olympics Austria: The Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 were games of all games! Austria could show how cordial its people as well as its culture can be. In the future we need to seize this launch vehicle to further the cause for people with mental impairments and move a step forward to a change of the whole of society.