WATERVILLE VALLEY, New Hampshire — Special Olympics of New Hampshire (SONH) is a non-profit organization providing sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with mental challenges. The 2008 Winter Games at Waterville Valley will mark the 31st year of this state-wide competition. From March 3-4, athletes will be competing in alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, figure skating and unified sports floor hockey.
The opening ceremonies are Sunday, March 2 featuring the Parade of Athletes and fireworks. All on-mountain events will begin Monday, March 3 at 9:00 am. For a complete schedule of events, or for more information, visit www.sonh.org. More than 500 Special Olympic athletes and some 400 volunteers are expected to attend. “Waterville Valley is a natural choice to host the Special Olympics Winter Games,” says General Manager Tom Day. “We have all the skiing and sports facilities they need right here in the Valley and the athletes and their families love the resort atmosphere and variety of family activities.”
The concept of Special Olympics began in 1963, when Eunice Kennedy Shriver held a day camp for people with intellectual disabilities at her home. She saw that mentally challenged individuals were far more capable in sports and physical activities than many experts thought. Special Olympics was founded by Shriver in 1968 with the support of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, and the movement spread throughout the United States and around the world. In 1988, an agreement was concluded with the International Olympic Committee, officially recognizing Special Olympics and endorsing an Olympic partnership.
Around the world, there are accredited Special Olympics programs in more than 150 countries.
Over 15,000 competition events, with almost 1.4 million athletes participating and 500,000 volunteers supporting activities, are held each year.
All media inquiries about Special Olympics should be directed to the Special Olympics New Hampshire President Mike Quinn at (603) 624-1250 ext 24. For more information about Waterville Valley, please visit www.waterville.com, or call 1-800-GO-VALLEY.