Quick shout of thanks for the fabulous support from the United States Embassy in Greece.  Last week they held a terrific event to celebrate the 100 day countdown until the Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011!  Below is the write up from the Embassy.


Ambassador and Mrs. Smith with Joanna Despotopoulou, Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, MP Dimitris Avramopoulos and Special Olympics athletes. Photo by: Haris Akriviadis

Ambassador Daniel Smith and Mrs. Diane Smith, along with Embassy personnel, welcomed Special Olympics athletes, volunteers, sponsors, Greek government officials and media representatives at a reception in honor of Special Olympics International and Special Olympics Hellas.  The evening’s warm festivities included an address by Ambassador Smith where he spoke about the legacy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver, the founders of Special Olympics, and the message of understanding and respect for individuals with intellectual disabilities that the Special Olympics movement brings to the world.  On behalf of the Greek Government, Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas expressed his support for the Special Olympics and his optimism that despite the difficult financial situation, his country will host successful World Summer Games in Athens June 25-July 4, 2011. His words were echoed by Dimitris Avramopoulos, representing the leader of the opposition New Democracy party.  President of Special Olympics International, Dr. Tim Shriver, conveyed via a videotaped message his best wishes for the Athens Organizing Committee and encouraged the world to come to Athens this summer to be a part of the Games.  Joanna Despotopoulou, President of the Athens 2011 Special Olympics Organizing Committee, flanked by Special Olympics athletes, thanked all those present for their support and promised exceptional Games this summer.  The evening concluded with prominent composer Stephanos Korkolis, who performed the official anthem of Special Olympics, and with the brief words of Special Olympic athlete Olga Dasoura who asked everyone to come to Athens this summer and cheer on the expected 7000 athletes.  Sunday Kathimerini (circ. 175,000) featured a prominent second page article on the reception.  This was an excellent opportunity for Embassy Athens to showcase strong USG support for Special Olympics, a movement founded in the United States, and raise awareness for the rights of and celebrate the achievements of individuals with intellectual disabilities.

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