News: Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017

As a proud sponsor of the Special Olympics Austria 2017, we are counting down the days to the Games.

Between 14 and 25 March 2017, the Austrians once again will open their hearts and minds to 3,000 athletes with intellectual disability from 110 nations as they proudly compete in 9 sports in 3 host locations, Graz, Schladming and Ramsau: Figure skating, Speed skating, Floor Hockey/Floorball, Snow shoeing, Alpine skiing, Nordic Skiing, Snowboarding and Stick shooting.

Video highlights from Pre-Games 2016 below:

Patrons and ambassadors of the Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 include great Austrian names such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Marcel Hirscher and Franz Klammer, who first became involved in the Special Olympics in 1993, the last time they came to Schladming.

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A dignified Arnold Schwarzenegger signs his book for a fan with Down’s Syndrome:

Austria was the first country after the US to host a Special Olympics World Games and the organisers are delighted to be returning to a country that embraces these winter athletes and which has demonstrated “its commitment to people with intellectual disabilities for decades”.

Special Olympics Flame of Hope

Prior to Opening Ceremony on 2 March 2017, the Flame of Hope for the Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 will be lit during a formal torch lighting ceremony in Athens and then travel to Austria.

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The final route will be confirmed in the next few months but the Flame will visit Vorarlberg on 9 March and Tirol on 10 March 2017.

Lara and Luis – inspired by the Games slogan, Heartbeat for the World

Lara and Luis, two of Austria’s most celebrated animals – a deer and a badger, will become the official mascot couple of the Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 after a design competition comprising a total of 51 designs and a jury of 9 people including two Special Olympics athletes.


Lara and Luis will be travelling to as many countries as possible to bring the Heartbeat for the World message all over the world and you can follow their journey.  Here they are in a sandy Rio de Janeiro …

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If you happen to see Lara or Luis then please spread the message to your friends and send a photo to E-Mail: