Olga Sloutsker: "We are for celebrating win of the personality over circumstances"

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Olga Sloutsker, President of Special Olympics Russia, became a speaker of the round table called "Special Olympics: a strategic vector of building an inclusive society". The event took place as part of the IX International Sports Forum "Russia – Country of Sports" held in Kazan on September 8-10.

The event took place as part of the IX International Sports Forum "Russia – Country of Sports" held in Kazan on September 8-10.

The discussion was attended by Olga Pavlova, Deputy of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Olga Oracheva, Director General of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation, Asya Zalogina, President of the Naked Hearts Foundation, Elena Kovaleva, Director for External Relations and Communications in Russia and Belarus of the Coca-Cola Company, the General Partner of the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Kazan, and others. Ksenia Solovieva, Ambassador of the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Kazan and Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, moderated the session. When opening the session, she noted that the shifting the Special Olympics dates gives Russian organizers an opportunity to do even more for its promotion and popularization:

“Special Olympics was supposed to take place in Kazan in the winter 2022; however, a tough decision has been made literally several days ago to postpone it until the next year. Still, the epidemiological situation remains unstable. We could possibly hold the Games without spectators, as it was just done in Tokyo. Yet, even for ordinary athletes the support of the tribunes is very important, and for Special Olympics athletes it is double more important, because Special Olympics is a celebration of unity... We will have a whole another year to tell Russia about inclusion and implement it even more actively,” said Ksenia Solovieva.

The speakers debated the opportunities for building up an efficient dialogue between society, business and the State, raising public awareness of the goals and values of the Special Olympics movement and the World Winter Games, developing an inclusive society through sports, integrating people with intellectual disabilities into society, problems of domestic inclusive education, working with parents of special children, and other topics.

Olga Sloutsker announced a number of problems related to promoting the Russian events of the Special Olympics movement. In particular, she called upon regional authorities to annually support Special Olympics athletes so that they would have an opportunity to participate in competitions.

“We are for celebrating win of the personality over circumstances. Russia adopted a strategy, setting a goal that by 2030 at least seventy percent of our country’s population regularly do physical exercises and sports. People with disabilities are also included in these seventy percent, and they should have an opportunity to do sports. Not just a desire or readiness to do exercises, but opportunities for actually doing it,” emphasized Olga Sloutsker. She also told about the most significant projects of the Special Olympics movement in Russia.

“A Special Olympics coach is an educator who knows and uses adaptive sports techniques when working with special people. This coach achieves results not only in sports, but also in socializing these people. Today, there is an extreme shortage of such coaches and specialists in Russia. We implement an educational program jointly with the Vladimir Potanin Foundation, to which we are very grateful. Special Olympics Russia, jointly with the Volga Region State University of Physical Education, Sports and Tourism, supported by the Vladimir Potanin Foundation and involving leading experts from other educational institutions, has developed an educational strategy: in three years we will train two thousand specialists who will receive certificates; they will have knowledge, opportunities, and the right to work with intellectually disabled people,” told Olga Sloutsker.

Special Olympics World Winter Games will take place in Kazan on January 22-28, 2022. Games sports program comprises competitions in seven sports: alpine skiing, snowboarding, floorball, cross country skiing, figure skating, short track speed skating, and snowshoeing.

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 Sports 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.

The Special Olympics World Games are held every two years, alternating between summer and winter, and are broadcast worldwide by ESPN, the Special Olympic Movement's official television and radio broadcasting partner. The previous World Winter Games were held in 2017 in Austria.

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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.

Special Olympics provides sports training throughout the year in a variety of Olympic-style sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Training of future Special Olympics participants has already started around Russia. Russian athletes with intellectual disabilities can join a team in their region on the website: