One day remains before the official launch of the 2011 Summer Special Olympics in Athens, beginning with the opening ceremony on Saturday night at the Panathenian Stadium in central Athens.
The Games will bring 7,000 athletes, 2,500 coaches, 40,000 family members and 3,000 representatives of the media from 180 countries to Greece, where 25,000 volunteers will assist them during 10 days of games from June 25 until July 4.
"The Special Olympics are a human monument. They are a revolution of dignity," said the head of the Special Olympics movement Timothy Shriver at an event held in central Athens on Friday.
Referring to the spirit of the Special Olympics, he stressed that "our revolution of dignity is global. Our aim is to teach the world to live united, without borders, in peace, unity, dignity and freedom without dividing walls," he said.
Other speakers at the event included Special Olympics athlete and world ambassador David Egan and two-times Special Olympics figure-skating champion Michelle Kwan.
The event was held at Athens Hilton Hotel to launch cooperation between the Hilton and the Special Olympics. During the games, the hotel will host an exhibition of the best works by distinguished Special Olympics photographer Richard Corman.