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Brazilian legends Romario and Zico, two of the World’s most loved football heroes, are now tied together with the Special Olympics movement and millions of athletes around the world.

Visiting the divisioning session with Team Brazil on Sunday (June 26), Romario and Zico announced that they have taken on a new role as Ambassadors for Special Olympics, committed to using their profile and influence to promote respect, acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities worldwide.

Both Ambassadors jumped straight into their new role. Within minutes of the announcement Romario and Zico pulled out their shoelaces and tied up their new ones as part of the Special Olympics Wear the Laces campaign.  Elsewhere at the Hellinikon Olympics stadium, South African football legend and Special Olympics Ambassador Luca Radabe was busy doing the same with Team South Africa.

The three legends all took time to give tips on training and techniques to the athletes who were delighted and awed to get the chance to meet and have their photo taken with their national football heroes.

“Today I join the Special Olympics family and I am proud to Wear the Laces for Special Olympics” said Romario, “Unfortunately not enough people realize the impact that our movement has for athletes and their families. I believe that there is nothing more powerful than sport to help us create a new world where everyone is accepted and respected regardless of their abilities or disabilities; a community of respect and love.

“By wearing the laces I feel tied to my special friends and focused on my job in helping them reach their full potential” added Romario.

Romaria and Zico have also pledged their support to ensure that a Special Olympics World Cup will be hosted in Brazil in two years’ time alongside the 2013 FIFA World Cup.

Join Romario, Zico and Luca Radabe in wearing the laces for Special Olympics. Purchase your own laces at http://www.wearthelaces.org and show off your creative ways to Wear the Laces on our Facebook page!

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