Graz airport is the "Official airport" for the World Winter Games 2017 in Styria, Austria // 

Special Olympics 2017 shines in the design of the passenger bus at Graz airport

"We are proud to a part of the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 and to contribute to the success of this global and unifying event", announced Gerhard Widmann, Managing Director of Flughafen

Hinten: Markus Pichler (Geschäftsführer Special Olympics 2017) und Sportstadtrat Kurt Hohensinner (v. l.); Vorne: SOÖ-Präsident Hermann Kröll, die Special-Olympics-Athleten Hermann Kogler und Barbara Gubitzer sowie Flughafen-Chef Gerhard Widmann (v. l.).

Graz, at today’s presentation of the passenger bus. The bus was branded in the design of the Special Olympics 2017 and is to be used for the transportation of passengers between terminals and aircrafts in the coming months. For those passengers who land in Graz, it will be obvious that Styria is, once again, host of a major sports event! The role of the airport of Graz as "Official airport" for the 2017 World Olympics will be visible not only through the bus, but through various promotion areas, banners and so much more, dedicated to the promotion of the World Winter Games 2017 and the upcoming Pre-Games (10-15 January 2016). In return the logo of the airport will be present on scoreboards, video cubes, programs and flyers pertaining to Special Olympics 2017. Already at the beginning of 2016, especially with the start of the Pre-Games 10 - 15 January 2022 right through to the World Winter Games running 14-25 March 2017, numerous athletes, workers, family members and journalists from abroad will use the many flights to Graz. With its modern infrastructure, Graz airport is perfectly prepared for the visitors and offers maximum security, short distances and practical comfort. "The Special Olympics World Winter Games and the airport of Graz complement each other perfectly", Hermann Kröll, President of Special Olympics Austria and the World Olympic Games in 2017, and Markus Pichler (CEO Austria 2017) agrees.   On the picture: Behind: Markus Pichler (CEO Special Olympics 2017) and Sportstadtrat Kurt Hohensinner (v. l.); Front: SOÖ-President Hermann Kröll, Special Olympics athletes Hermann Kogler and Barbara Gubitzer and Airport chief Gerhard Widmann (v. l.).   Here you can find more photos (GEPA pictures/Special Olympics) more

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Less than 100 days to the Pre-Games 2016!

It was an incredibly special day for the Organizing Committee of the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017. The reason being is that on 2nd October 2015, it was exactly 100 days to the Pre-Games

2016. (The Pre-Games run from 10 - 15 January 2016, in Graz, Schladming and Ramsau.) From all over Austria, the Special Olympics athletes will come together in Styria to determine their national champion representation throughout the wide variety of sports and classes. The importance of the Pre-Games is even more pronounced as it is the “dress rehearsal” for the big World Winter Games in March 2017. In principle, they are national games with international participation, as pre-Games Coordinator Elmar Mandl describes: "We will welcome more than 1,000 athletes and 500 coaches. We are proud that we have 23 delegations from abroad to host". In addition to Russia and Japan we also have delegates from surprising winter sports nations such as Qatar, Jordan, U.A.E. and Uzbekistan (see data and facts). Austria alone is represented by 122 delegations, with 880 athletes participating (including 21 unified partner) and almost 400 trainers. The numbers may change between now and January, but certainly are the largest national winter games of Special Olympics ever conducted. A proud and pleased Hermann Kröll, President of Austria and the World Winter Games 2017 commented: "After the flag handover at the summer games in Los Angeles the Pre-Games 2016 are the next big highlight for us. Faithfully we look forward many exciting races and especially great performances of the athletes. Our motto "Heartbeat for the world". It is not only the athletes and coaches that consider the Pre-Games 2016 as a dress rehearsal, but also the event organizers too. “The Pre-Games 2016 will be the same structure and format as 2017, in terms of the same sports, same club interaction, volunteers, staff and sponsors. The only difference being, taking the ideal opportunity to see, in Pre-Games 2016, which areas run well and any areas that would benefit from improvement and apply such findings to 2017" as communicated by the two managing directors Marc Angelini and Markus Pichler. Especially when it comes to generating positive sentiment for the World Winter Games and to prepare the public for the major event in March 2017. "The time will pass quickly, so we need every opportunity to promote the importance of the Special Olympics to everyone. It will showcase the great and emotional evocation the event in the Styria will generate", explain Angelini and Pichler. Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding will take place in Schladming, and Nordic skiing and snowshoeing, in Ramsa. In Graz, the Curling events will be at Helmut List Halle and the Figure Skating and Speed Skating will be held in the Eishalle Liebenau. Floorball will take place in the blue box of the HIB Liebenau. The Pre-Games 2016 will also house the 'Motor Activity Training Program’ (MATP) offered at the Congress Schladming venue. These are customized competitions for people with higher needs. "Special course must be taken alone or with the help of a supervisor. For the first time, we have recorded the MATP in the program of winter, this is a big step for us", explained Mandl, who is responsible since January 2014 for the coordination of the pre-Games. Supported by not only some 650 volunteers but also local sports associations, who are fundamental in assessing situations and applying adjustments, as needed. "The know-how of the clubs and associations is an important factor, without them we could not carry out these games," Mandl thanked the following associations: WSV Ramsau (Nordic skiing and snowshoeing), WSV Schladming (Alpine skiing and snowboard), the Austrian Floorballverband (Floorball), Graz Ice Skating Association (figure skating), Short Track Speed Skating Grazer Dragons (speed skating) and ESV Old Toll Seiersberg (curling). Many natives will serve as translators and accompany the foreign teams in the Pre-Games. "Each delegation is assigned at least one translator", advised the Coordinator, during the Pre-Games, with about 7,500 overnight stays in Graz (2,500), Schladming (1,750), and Ramsau (3,250) expected.     "Host Town" and "Healthy Athletes" The Host Town Program is an old tradition of Special Olympics. While the international athletes spend three days in a selected location in the host country they will be introduced to the culture, the region itself and the local people. For the Host Town Program delegations on all over Austria to be assigned to various Host Towns before the pre-Games (8 - 10 January), of course something less than before the World Winter Games. This time, the international teams in Maria Lankowitz, Stainz, St. Stefan will be hosted in either Stainz or Lannach depending on their sport. Also a special Healthy Athletes Program is offered on 9 January 2016. "While our foreign guests here they will be offered an extensive health check-up, as many may or may not be familiar with in their home countries” Mandl says in explaining the meaning of the program. The participation is free of charge and on a voluntary basis and will take place in the premises of the Graz Joanneum University of applied sciences. Of course, the Pre-Games 2016 will be book-ended with the much-anticipated Opening & Closing Ceremonies. The opening ceremony will be held on 10 January 2022 in Schladming and is free of charge to the public. Over the nearly two-hour event, guests will witness the Olympic Flame being lit and the flag being hoisted - both as a symbolic sign of the games. They will also get to enjoy an entertaining Ski Show. “Opus” and “Day Dreamer” will provide musical entertainment also. On 14 January 2022 there will also be, two smaller closing parties at "Congress Schladming" and in the Graz Helmut List Hall (in addition to the cult band “Egon7” providing musical entertainment there will also be a spectacular dance show).     Pre-Games 2016 FAST FACTS: Date(s): 10 – 15 January 2022 Host Cities: Graz, Schladming-Rohrmoos, Ramsau   Opening Ceremony: 10 January 2016, World Cup Stadium planai, Schladming with Opus and day dreamer (from 18: 00, free entrance) Sporting Events: 11-14 January 2016  Closing Ceremony: 14 January 2016, Schladming (congress, from 19: 00) and Graz (Helmut List Halle, from 19: 00) with Egon 7 (Free admission)   Sporting competitions: Figure skating and speed skating (Eishalle Liebenau, Graz)Stock sport (Graz, Helmut list Hall)Floorball (Graz, bluebox HIB Liebenau)Alpine Skiing & Snowboarding (Schladming-Rohrmoos, RWY 32)Nordic Skiing & Snowshoeing (Ramsau, Stadium)     Participants: Austria: approx. 880 athletes (including 21 unified partner)and 400 trainers International approximately 150 athletes and 70 coaches from 23 countries: Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Finland, United Kingdom, Holland, Iceland, Japan, Jordan, Qatar, Croatia, Luxembourg, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia, Hungary, United States, Uzbekistan, U.A.E. more

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Sponsor Summit in Vienna

The first Sponsor Summit for the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 in Graz, Schladming, Ramsau, took place in the "Haus des Sports" in Vienna. Numerous sponsors and partners came together

to discuss plans and prepare for the World Games in March 2017. Various marketing campaigns and ideas were discussed, as well as competition venues for the pre-Games, which will take place 10-15 January 2016. In addition, the Winter Games were presented, as well as advertising vehicls and merchandise samples..   In addition to presentations by the Organizing Committee, members of Special Olympics International, in town for a week of meetings with the OC, showcased the fascination and the emotion of Special Olympics. Representatives of the global partners Coca-Cola, Microsoft, ESPN talked about their activities at the World Games in recent years.   "We wanted to update all supporters of this March 2017 event about the sponsor Summit. An event of this dimension would be impossible without generous sponsors and partners. We are happy and grateful, that we have won many top companies for the World Winter Games and hope that in the next few months more sponsors and partners will join us" explained the two managing directors Markus Pichler and Marc Angelini.     After the Summit, participants attended a Reception hosted by the US Ambassador, Alexa Wesner, at her residence. She welcomed some of the Austrian medal winners from the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles.     There are photos from the Sponsor Summit on our photo page by GEPA pictures, as well as on our Flickr page. These can be downloaded free of charge.       Here you find an overview of our sponsors and partners.  more

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Pre-Games 2016

From January, 10th to 15th, the Pre-Games 2016 will take place in Graz, Schladming and Ramsau. This is a kind of general rehearsal for the World Winter Games 2017. 1.500 athletes will come to Austria

and take part in the national games with international participation. Find all informations about the Pre-Games 2016 here! more

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We are Special Olympics!

Official flag from Special Olympics were handed over to Graz, Schladming and Ramsau at the Closing Ceremony in Los Angeles! The world rejoices at being guest at the World Games in March 2017. Have a

Flaggenübergabe bei der Schlussfeier in Los Angeles

look at the photos from the Closing Ceremony in Los Angeles:[nbsp ]   more

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New Website!

In the next few days our new website will start! Please have a little patience! Thank you


Second Place for Lara & Luis

Big success at the Styrian mascot voting for Lara & Luis!


Open house in Graz

Graz ... welcome to our new office!


Tendering: Merchandising

Merchandising of the World Winter Games 2017




Austria 2017 Dots Full Width Background