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Special Olympics deliver pure gold in Munich

The Local · 25 May 2012, 16:55

Published: 25 May 2012 16:55 GMT+02:00

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The event, which was founded in 1991, attracts athletes of all ages from across Germany to compete. This year more than 5,000 took part and were watched by up to 25,000 people who descended on Munich's Olympic stadium each day.

With a choice of 19 different sports which ranged from badminton and swimming to the more unorthodox – like roller skating – competitors were often split into ability groups. There are thus more gold medals up for grabs than in the international Olympics or Paralympics.

Typically, entrants have some kind of learning disability but can be of any age and this year one woman entered for the first time at the age of 50.

German President Joachim Gauck was present, along with other high-ranking politicians, at the opening ceremony. He gave a speech to the crowd stressing the importance of sport in integrating people with learning difficulties into general society.

“Sport is a good way to raise public awareness [about learning disabilities]” 72-year-old Gauck said at the ceremony.

Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer was also present at Monday's ceremony. “Sport builds bridges, it connects people,” he said.

A selection of entrants will go on to compete in the international Special Olympics in the South Korean next year. Others will be getting involved early 2013 in the Winter Special Olympics set to be held in Bavaria.

Story continues below…

DPA/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

21:03 May 25, 2012 by jodessa
Big fan of the Special Olympics. Did you say they have learning disabilities?? Might want to edit that one.
23:12 May 25, 2012 by AClassicRed
Intellectual disability is the term used on the Special Olympic site, and what they point out in support of the other comment is that: people learn at different rates, in different ways or more slowly than others. I also really wish that when a new site basically copies and pastes news from other sources, they would at least bother to not try to "dumb down" the information and use what the original sites, which do respect the individuals participating, instead of the more sensationalist, very much circa 1950's terms they used here.

That being said, rather ironic a really good cause like this and almost no comments but on the German "rules" one you had several dozens people posting about how people go to the bathroom and why. So in a small way, it is rather representative and comparative of what people take the time to actually log in and post about (6 year old potty humor by majority just to be even more crude than the next person) versus really good causes that's helping a special group of individuals.
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