Swiss resort of Crans-Montana plays host to Special Olympics GB – a sporting event for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Taking place during February 2020, Crans-Montana will provide a spectacular back-drop to the Special Olympics GB National Alpine skiing competition which includes Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super G disciplines all held on the Piste National just above Crans-Montana.

February 2-7, 2020; Crans-Montana plays host to Special Olympics Great Britain’s National Alpine skiing event, a non-elite sporting event for athletes who have intellectual disabilities.

In the UK there are around 1.5m people with an intellectual disability – a significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information, to learn new skills, and with a reduced ability to cope independently which affects someone for their whole life.*

People with an intellectual disability are more likely to be socially isolated, with one in three people with an intellectual disability spending less than one hour outside of their homes on a typical Saturday. They are nearly twice as likely to be inactive; almost half (43%) of adults with an intellectual disability are inactive compared to the national average of 25%. Participating in sport is a great way to break down these social barriers while increasing the health and confidence of people with an intellectual disability.

Special Olympics Great Britain (GB) is a non-profit organisation and the largest provider of year-round, sports coaching and athletic competition in summer and winter sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. There is currently more than 120 all ability, inclusive sports competitions covering 28 sports across England, Scotland and Wales providing approximately 27,000 regular hour-long sporting sessions per year, all delivered by a team of more than 3,700 dedicated volunteers.

The Special Olympics GB National Alpine Skiing event takes place every four years.

Michelle Carney, CEO Special Olympics GB said:

We are so looking forward to being in Crans-Montana for a brilliant week of alpine sport. It’s sure to be an amazing event and experience for everyone involved. During the week everyone including families and volunteers will be part of the unique Special Olympics GB community and witness the joy of seeing our athletes compete and the jubilation as they stand on the podium to receive their medals. The Opening Ceremony will be emotional as our athletes parade proudly Region by Region and take their oath for the week; ‘Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt’. The week is rounded off with the Closing Ceremony celebrations which everyone takes part in.

Bruno Huggler from Crans-Montana said:

We’re delighted to be hosting this incredible event, with Special Olympics GB here in Crans-Montana. The resort is an ideal location for the athletes as they have all the facilities they need, plus world class competition slopes that regularly host the very highest level of ski racing. We are looking forward to having the athletes, their families and the whole Special Olympics GB organisation here in what I’m sure will be a fantastic event.

* An intellectual disability is: “A significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information, to learn new skills (impaired intelligence) with a reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning) which started before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development” Source: Department of Health (2001) Valuing People.

About Special Olympics Great Britain

  • Special Olympics Great Britain (GB), set up in 1978, is a non-profit organisation which provides year-round sports coaching and athletic competition in summer and winter sports for children and adults with Intellectual disabilities.
  • Special Olympics is an IOC recognised organisation founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver and has just celebrated its 50th Anniversary.
  • Unlike the Olympics and Paralympics for elite athletes, Special Olympics differs in that it aims to offer opportunities for athletes of all abilities to take part in a range of sport every day of the week, every week of the year.
  • There are an estimated 1.5 million people with an Intellectual Disability in Great Britain and that number is predicted to rise. (Source: Papworth Trust 2010).
  • Two hundred babies are born each week with an Intellectual disability in the UK (Source: Papworth Trust 2010). Eight out of ten children with an ID are bullied and ALL are socially excluded. (Source: Mencap 2007).
  • Special Olympics GB currently has more than 120 accredited clubs in England, Scotland and Wales and provides coaching and competition opportunities in 28 sports. These programmes are run by over 3,700 volunteers who support thousands of the athletes with Intellectual Disabilities to take part.
  • Special Olympics GB is more than just an opportunity to take part in sport – it transforms lives. It provides opportunities to increase confidence, realise potential, develop physical fitness and mental well-being, demonstrate courage and experience new friendships. And above all for both athletes and their families – to have some FUN.
  • The work of Special Olympics GB is currently funded by individuals, trust and corporate donations and financial support is crucial to enable us to continue our work.
  • This year, SOGB sent its largest ever delegation to the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi with over 128 athletes competing across 17 sports. Team SOGB came home with 169 medals, 63 of them gold.
  • The next big national event for SOGB will be the Special Olympics GB Summer Games in 2021 hosted by Liverpool, where over 2000 athletes from across the country will compete.
  • For further information visit

For all Special Olympics GB press enquiries, please contact:
Alison Lavenant, PR & Communications Consultant, Special Olympics Great Britain
Tel: +44 (0) 7841 004 183

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