Kazan, Russia, 6 July 2021 – To commemorate the 200-day countdown to Special Olympics World Winter Games 2022 (Kazan Games) and build excitement for the world’s largest sport and humanitarian event, the City of Kazan, Russia, erected a dynamic monument in the center of the city.
The monument features Zilant, a mythical dragon and mascot for the (Kazan Games), and a digital screen with a dynamic clock counting down the days until Opening Ceremony on 22 January 2022.
Minister of Sports of the Republic Of Tatarstan Vladimir Leonov said, “We are fully prepared to host the 2022 World Winter Games and are looking forward to the start of the competitions.”
In addition to Minister Leonov, Special Olympics Russia (SOR) athletes and representatives of the Kazan Games Local Organizing Committee, general sponsor of the Kazan Games The Coca-Cola Company attended the unveiling event.
“At the international level, Coca-Cola is a founding partner and sponsor of Special Olympics, and we are very proud of our 53-year relationship,” said Owen J. Green, Director of Partnership and Sports Projects for Coca-Cola Russia. “Today marks another milestone towards the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2022 here in Kazan that will bring together over 3000 from more than 100 countries. Together we help to build an inclusive society by supporting young people with intellectual disabilities and grow the Special Olympics movement in Russia.”
In addition to the monument dedication, SOR is celebrating the 200-day countdown to the Kazan Games with a Unified Leadership Program from 5-8 July 2021. Designed for SOR athletes, this event involves appointing members to the Athlete Leadership Committee, training in public speaking, and learning about all aspects of the Kazan Games.
Choreographer and artist with an intellectual disability Alexandr Gustyakov, who took part in designing the logo of the Kazan Games, is among the Leadership Program participants. He said, “I am happy we have the opportunity to take part in the countdown monument event. My fellow Special Olympics Russia athletes look forward to helping organize the World Winter Games in 2022 and welcoming the world to Kazan.”
The Kazan Games will offer 2,000 Special Olympics athletes and Special Olympics Unified Sports® (UCS) partners from 100 nations the opportunity to compete in seven sports: alpine skiing, snowboarding, floorball, cross-country skiing, figure skating, short track speed skating, and snowshoeing. In addition to sports competitions, the Kazan Games will focus on expanding the organization’s programming in inclusive health, education, and leadership.
About Special Olympics
Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We foster acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health, and leadership. With more than six million athletes and Unified partners in over 190 countries and territories and more than one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions every year. Engage with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and our blog on Medium. Learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org.
About Special Olympics Russia
Special Olympics Russia was founded in 1999 and is one of the largest national programs in the global Special Olympics movement. In Russia, around 130,000 people with intellectual disabilities are involved in physical education and about 5,000 physical culture events of the municipal, regional and all Russian levels are held annually under the Special Olympics Russia program. Currently there are Special Olympics regional offices in 62 regions of Russia. Russian athletes with intellectual disabilities take part in international tournaments annually in the Special Olympics Russia program with athletes occupying various leadership positions.