Special Olympics: Special Olympics 2011 organisers: Greece met the challenge even amid crisis

The top organisers of the 2011 Special Olympics of Athens on Friday issued a press release on the occasion of the ongoing Games and this week's politically-charged violence, which was centred in Syntagma Square in front of Parliament.
"Violent protests, tear gas, and broken glass in Syntagma Square top the international headlines but the people of Greece led another demonstration this week. 25,000 Greeks have come together every day to join the 'Dignity Revolution', cheering for unity, working for unity, standing for unity. Sadly, the press has missed the story," the press release stated.
Signed by the chairman and CEO of Special Olympics International, Dr. Timothy Shriver, and the president of the 2011 Summer Games' organising committee, Joanna Despotopoulou, the statement added:
"... Even amidst economic anxiety and political upheaval, a special session of Greek Parliament was held to commemorate the declaration of The Promotion of Sports Integration in Schools Act, a landmark law that promotes the full inclusion of youth with intellectual disabilities through sport. The law mandates a different model of education for Greece's youth in the future -- a model that focuses on learning the social and emotional lessons of unity.
"Volunteers from throughout Greece have also demonstrated their unwavering commitment to these Games despite formidable obstacles. Amidst city-wide transportation strikes, over 300 volunteers found their own way from Athens to the Glyfada golf course to enable the golf tournament to continue uninterrupted. And together with nearly 25,000 others, the volunteers are providing our athletes with a world-class Olympic experience," the statement read, adding:
"There can be little doubt that the political and economic struggles of Greece have created deep and painful wounds. Millions of Greeks are suffering. The crisis is far from over. But Greece did not fail the athletes of Special Olympics and the athletes of Special Olympics have not failed Greece. They have given her perhaps the greatest gift: hope itself."

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