Pre-Games 2016

Pre-Games 2016 ... Informations

The final countdown! On January 10th the Pre-Games 2016 will open in the World Cup Stadium Planai. The nearly two-hour long show will not be only a worthy prelude to the four-day games, but also be very entertaining. In addition, important local artists for the opening ceremony have announced.

In 1993, when the Special Olympics World Winter Games for the first time in Schladming, Ramsau and Salzburg, the legendary band “Opus” delivered a "masterpiece" of entertainment. Almost 23 years later they will entertain the masses again at the World Cup Stadium Planai. "We are very pleased, to be able to provide a great show program in the framework of Special Olympics for the second time in Schladming since 1993.” The gifted musicians explain for us “it is particularly important to give to the participants additional motivation and enthusiasm through our performance ".

There is also a more Styrian band: as at that time, in 1993 in Schladming, the World Games opened with “Opus”, the bandmembers of “Tagtraeumer“ were very young. Now they are among the regulars in the local charts and are a really good live band, which they will show to all at the Opening Ceremony.

There is another entertainer whom the audience can look forward to hearing, Rose May (her brother is football star, David Alaba!). She sings like he kicks. "I think it's great that there are Special Olympics and it's an honor that I can be a part of the program with my band at the Opening Ceremony", says Rose May.

There are other artists, with wonderful performances, to look forward to. Like the dance group "Ich Bin OK", demonstrates intellectually impaired people are truly masterful dancers. Liebenau, already known is his appearance have right from the ORF show "The great opportunity of the choirs", at the beginning of the Opening ceremony, as well as the brass bands Schladming, Ramsau and Pichl.

Schladming ski teachers offer a spectacular ski show and in addition to the solemn (and impressive) Entry of Nations, the raising of the Olympic Flag; the lighting of the Olympic Torch and the Special Olympics Oath are essential program points. The Oath will be delivered by ski star Anna Fenninger, advises Hermann Kröll, President of Special Olympics Austria and Austria 2017, "We are very pleased that this important task will carried out by the Austrian Sportswoman of the Year! It is thus in the footsteps of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who spoke The Oath at the World Winter Games in 1993." Fenninger will speak each sentence, which will be followed by Special Olympics athletes with:  " Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

The sporting competitions in Graz, Schladming and Ramsau take place from 11th January 2016. All venues will be hosting competitions for four days for much-coveted medals, with more than 1,000 athletes and 500 trainers from 21 Nations participating (see “Data & Facts” section below). "We are proud that we have 20 delegations from abroad to host," explained Elmar Mandl, Pre-Games 2016 Coordinator. Including 'exotic' winter sports nations such as Qatar and Jordan. Austria alone is represented by 122 delegations with less than 880 athletes (including 23 unified partners, people without intellectual impairment) and almost 400 trainers. For the local athletes, participation is essential to make the qualification for the World Winter Games 2017.

In Schladming (Alpine skiing and snowboarding) and Ramsau (Nordic skiing and snowshoeing) the Pre-Games are held in the original locations. In Graz you will find the Helmut List Halle (stock sports) and events held in the Eishalle Liebenau (figure skating and speed skating) as well as events held in the blue box of the HIB Liebenau (Floorball).

It is also at the Pre-Games that the Motor Activity Training Program’ (MATP) is offered in Schladming (Congress). "This is to facilitate competitions for people with higher needs." Special courses must be taken alone or with the help of a supervisor. For the first time, we have inclued the MATP in the program of Winter Games, this is a big step for us", as Mandl, who is responsible since January 2014 for the coordination of the Pre-Games.

Supported by some 650 Volunteers and the local sports associations, which take on the sport-related logistics of ‘spot and fix’. "The know-how of the clubs and associations is an important factor for us, without them we could not carry out these games," Mandl says, thanking 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 (stock sports).

There are many "native speakers", who will accompany the foreign teams in the Pre-Games. "Each delegation gets at least one native speaker assigned to them", emphasizes Mandl, who expects about 7,500 overnight stays throughout the course of the Pre-Games (Graz: 2,500; Schladming: 1,750 and Ramsau: 3,250) during the pre-Games.


To conclude the Pre-Games there will be two Closing Ceremonies on January 14th. The group "Dulcimer" perform at the Congress in Schladming and at the Graz Helmut List Hall "Egon7", the iconic live band, will perform, as well as a spectacular show of performance dance. "It is an honor to be at this event and support a great idea of ‘Heartbeat for the World’. We will present at the final party (Closing Ceremony) in Graz, our music as always with full of passion and lure all dance and partygoers to the front of the stage", says band frontman, Manfred Koch.



What you should know about the Pre-Games 2016:


Award Ceremonies:

The Award Ceremonies are particularly emotional and unforgettable. They are formidable due to the unbridled joy of the athletes with their medals and makes for an amazing memory. Following the amazing sporting events held at the various venues, there are extra dates for awards both in Graz and in Schladming. They will serve as tributes in the main square of Graz and will be held on January 13th (10:00am to 12:30pm) and January 14th (1:00pm to 2:00pm). Schladming will honor the best snowboarders and skiers (Super-G and slalom) before the Town Hall - on January 13th (3:00pm to 7:20pm). Stopping pays off in any case! A detailed overview of the award ceremonies can be viewed here.


School Program:

Through the school program "Cool School", which intensively engages schools in the Special Olympic World Winter Games 2017 all over Austria, many students are already part of the Pre-Games program. More than 1.000 Styrian students will support and cheer for the athletes in Graz, Schladming, Ramsau. The following schools are part of the Pre-Games: VS, Valley, VS Ramsau am Dachstein, VS NMS Weißenbach/Enns, ZIS Gröbming, practice VS the KPH Graz VS GDP Krones HTBLA obey, NMS Ursuline, CPR Schrödinger, HIB Liebenau, VS Kalsdorf, NMS Kalsdorf, BG, NMS Groß St. Florian, PTS Köflach and NMS Köflach.


The Olympic Torch in downtown Graz:

The lighting of the Torch has a very special meaning for the Olympics and Special Olympics. In the run-up to the Pre-Games, a small torch will be carried in Graz on Friday, January 8th. Starting at 10:15am on the Karmeliterplatz, then an approximately three kilometre round is completed downtown by the Grazer before at 10:45am, the Flame is received again on the Karmeliterplatz in the "Graz Winter World". Traditionally it is the running of the police and police students, accompanied them are by Special Olympics athletes.



The Host-Town Program is an old tradition of the Special Olympics. Here, the international athletes, over three days, stay in a selected location in the host country to learn about the country and people. The Host-town Program is conducted for the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017, where the delegations on all over Austria to be allocated to their host accommodation prior to the Pre-Games 2016 (8th-10th January) albeit on a smaller scale. This time the international teams in Maria Lankowitz (Sporthotel freizeitinsel Piberstein), Stainz (Hotel Schilcher Landhof) and St. Stefan relate whether Stainz (national Steinbäck) their quarters. A separate program was designed specifically for the delegations, of which, the following activities are planned:

  • Social evening in the Stone Hall Lannach (with Schuhplattler from St. Stefan whether Stainz, Lannach Musikverein and the MIME 'McBee')

  • Ride with the Flascherlzug

  • Guided tours of the stud farm in Piber

  • Workshops with the Youth Centre in Köflach

  • Coffee and cake in the Murpark, Graz



On January 9th, the Healthy Athletes Program opens its doors for all athletes in the FH Joanneum Graz (Eggenberger Allee 11-13, 8020 Graz, from 9 o'clock). This includes free and comprehensive checkups and advice in six medical areas: eye exams; hearing tests; dental exam; fitness check-ups; foot examinations and a collection of general health advise. The examinations are carried out by trained volunteer doctors, therapists as well as students in the health profession. The athletes with diagnosed amblyopia get free glasses with appropriate correction. Also, sunglasses and other health products for all sports enthusiasts are offered.


Framework Program during the Pre-Games:

Thanks to the initiative of city municipalities and tourism associations, a comprehensive program outside of the sporting competitions is being offered to participants in the Pre-Games. So the members of the delegation in Graz can learn all about the collections of the universal Museum (Kunsthaus, Museum in the Palais, Museum of Ethnography, new gallery, natural history museum) free visit, a trip with the Schlossbergbahn is freely available. Guided tours in the Landeszeughaus, a Grazer fairytale train ride and visit the Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum in Thal are also free. Daily special torchlight hikes are offered in Schladming and Ramsau.



Should you want to register/credential media representatives as photographer for the pre-Games 2016 you must do so via this link: later than January 8th.

You will receive the Accreditation (credential) at the following locations:

  • In the Congress Schladming from 10th January, (Daily, from 9:00am – 4:00pm)

  • In Graz at the Hotel Nova Park (Fischeraustraße of 22, 8051 Graz, on January 10th from 9:00am – 1:00pm

  • In Graz in the Helmut List Halle (Waagner-Biro road 98a, 8020) from 11th -13th January from 9:00am – 4:00pm each day.


Pre-Games 2016 Dates & Facts:

10th - 15th January 2016

Host cities: Graz, Schladming-Rohrmoos, Ramsau

10th January: Opening Ceremony in Schladming (World Cup Stadium planai) with Opus, Rose May and Tagtraeumer (from 18: 00, free entrance)

11th- 14th January: Sporting Competitions (free admission)

14th January: Closing Ceremonies in Schladming (congress, from 19: 00) and Graz (Helmut List Halle, from 19: 00) with Egon 7 (free admission)


Sportlng Competitions:

  • Figure skating and speed skating (Eishalle Liebenau, Graz)

  • Stock sports (Graz, Helmut list Hall)

  • Floorball (Graz, bluebox HIB Liebenau)

  • Alpine skiing and snowboarding (Schladming-Rohrmoos, RWY 32)

  • Motor activity training program (Schladming, congress)

  • Nordic skiing and snowshoeing (Ramsau, Stadium)


Sporting Associations:

WSV Ramsau (Nordic skiing and snowshoeing), WSV Schladming (Alpine skiing and snowboard), Dem Österreichischen Floorballverband (Floorball), Grazer Eislaufverein (figure skating), Grazer Short Track Dragons (speed skating) and ESV Alte Maut Seiersberg (stock sports).



Free Admission on all days (including Opening & Closing Ceremonies)



Domestic (Austria): 869 Athletes (incl. 23 Unified-Partner) and approx. 400 Trainers

International Delegations: 137 Athletes and 60 Trainer from 20 nations (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, United Kingdom, Holland, Iceland, Japan, Jordan, Quatar, Croatia, Luxemburg, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, United States)


Austria 2017 Dots Full Width Background