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Special Olympics Kick Off in Pyeongchang

2013/02/02 | 76 views |  | Permalink | Source

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The 2013 Pyeongchang Special Olympics World Winter Games kick off on Tuesday for their eight-day run, with high-profile dignitaries such as Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi set to attend the opening ceremony at Yongpyeong Dome from 6 p.m.

The international sporting event is held every four years for people with intellectual disabilities and is now being held in Korea for the first time. Some 4,200 people including President Lee Myung-bak, volunteers and 3,190 athletes from 111 countries will attend. Korea is being represented by 236 athletes, more than any other country.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi, leader of her country's National League for Democracy, entered Korea on Monday. She is also scheduled to deliver a speech at the Global Development Summit on Wednesday in front of world leaders to discuss welfare programs for people with intellectual disabilities.

 Relay runners of the 2013 Pyeongchang Special Olympics World Winter Games use their torches to light the cauldron upon arriving in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province on Monday at the end of the torch relay.

The Special Olympic teams will enter the athletes' villages in Pyeongchang and Gangneung on Tuesday, and begin participating in competitions from Wednesday. The organizers have already sold over 80,000 special passes, which cost W10,000 (US$1=W1,092) and allow spectators to watch all events except for the opening and closing ceremonies.

Spectators can conveniently travel between venues in Pyeongchang and Gangneung using specially provided shuttle buses that run on two routes. The buses will run every 30 minutes between 9 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. from Wednesday to Feb. 5, the closing day. For more information, visit the Special Olympics' website at www.2013sopoc.org.

During the closing ceremony, Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, who is an honorary ambassador for the event, will wrap things up with an ice show. Chinese-American figure skating legend Michelle Kwan may also feature in the show.

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