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What we do > Events and Games > Games > Past events > 2011 World Summer Games

2011 World Summer Games


From 25 June to 4 July 2011, 35 Special Olympics New Zealand athletes competed at the 13th Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.

They were part of a 7,500-strong contingent from 185 nations around the world taking part in the Games.

Special Olympics New Zealand was represented in seven sports: aquatics, athletics, basketball, bowling (tenpin), equestrian, golf and powerlifting.

Team updates

You can find all of our team stories and follow their journey at the World Summer Games on our Information and news page.


Special Olympics New Zealand says thank you and farewell to Greece!

Athens, Greece - 4 July, 2011
Tonight at the historic Kallimarmaron Panthinaikon Olympic Stadium there was a grand celebration of Special Olympics athletes, supporters and the thousands of volunteers who made the Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011 possible.
The stadium was filled as nearly 300 athlete representatives from the 7000 who competed marched in to roars of applause.  Shain Lewis, Special Olympics Great Britain athlete who medaled in tennis, represented all Special Olympics athletes, thanking the more than 25,000 volunteers who helped make the Games possible.
President of the Organizing Committee of the Special Olympics World Summer games Athens 2011, Mrs. Joanna Despotopoulou, introduced Special Olympics Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, Dr. Timothy P. Shriver, who thanked her for all that the Games Organizing Committee and the people of Greece had done for Special Olympics.
He said – “When we opened these Games we had said we had come home.  We had no idea that we truly were…. To all of our wonderful volunteers, you have stolen our hearts.  Thank you volunteers for showing that all of Greece can rise and unite and I hope all the world will follow you!”
The crowd was then greeted with a variety of entertainment, including the band Aerika, a group composed entirely of musicians with disabilities.  There was also an array of Greek singers, traditional dancers and reenactments of a journey through Greek history.
The flame was extinguished and the flag was officially handed over to the Games Organizing Committee for the 2013 World Winter Games in PyeongChang, Korea.
Fans witnessed the artistic transition from Greek to Korean culture as traditional Korean dancers took the stage and Korea’s own K-pop artists, The Wonder Girls, the number one girl group in Asia, performed to a dancing audience as they performed some of their top hits including ‘Nobody’.
The night finished up with more entertainment from artist Heather Small singing “I am Proud” in front of a montage of great imagery from the past 10 days of competition, and at the other end of the stage Greek rock band ‘Myronas Stratis Band’ got the crowd on their feet. 

A sky full of fireworks lit up the sky as the ceremony came to a close.  Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011 lasted for the past 10 days, from 25 June to 4 July featuring more than 7,000 Special Olympics Athletes from nearly 180 countries around the world competing in the largest international multi-sport event of the year.  Competition happened in 22 sports and a total of 12,000 medals were awarded to the athletes. The athletes will return to their home countries starting tomorrow 5 July where they will be celebrated by their governments, communities, schools and families.

Highlights of the Closing Ceremony - 4 July 2011 

Who was in Athens

We had a delegation of more than 50 athletes and supporters led by Rob Torrance, Head of Delegation that headed to the World Games.  Our athletes had been training furiously and fundraising up a storm to get to the games since their selection last October.  Athletes range in age from 18 to 58 and are from throughout New Zealand.

See the full roster and read our press release announcing the team.

The road to Athens

July 2011 - Final newsletter

June 2011 Newsletter

May 2011 Newsletter

April 2011 Newsletter

March 2011 Newsletter


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