By Lyndsey Hall
Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield MP, Nick Clegg, has announced that the Special Olympics 2017, hosted by our fair city, will be the “best ever”.
News of Sheffield’s winning bid for the games was revealed on Thursday, and it is hoped that it will bring up to 10,000 visitors and a cash boost of £1.5m, over the course of the 6 day competition. It will also be fantastic for our region as the focus will be back on Sheffield as a world renowned “city of sport”, following on from the great success of the Tour de France Grand Depart, which was watched by 2.5m spectators worldwide.
“I’m certain the world-class facilities, outstanding hospitality and all-round love of sport will ensure we put on the best-ever Special Olympics Summer Games.” – Nick Clegg
Sheffield won the bid despite the recent demolition of Don Valley, the site of the opening ceremony for the games in 1993, which it was recently revealed will be replaced by a University Technical College that is due to open in 2016. The organisers will be looking to demonstrate the world class sports facilities that the city has to offer; such as Ponds Forge, the English Institute of Sport, and Sheffield Hallam University’s Athletics Stadium.
While the Tour de France has certainly encouraged more people in our region to take up cycling, hopefully the Special Olympics will increase the number of people with intellectual or learning disabilities in Yorkshire who take part in sport, which can be an excellent form of therapy; helping improve self-esteem and confidence, as well as being fun. Clegg said, “The Special Olympics are so exceptional, because they are helping to change attitudes for the better and show how the power of sport can provide opportunities for us all. Apart from being able to enjoy this major sporting spectacle, I’m confident everyone who gets involved will be inspired by some of the stories and successes of the athletes taking part.
With an expected 2000 athletes and 5000 spectators flocking to Sheffield for the Special Olympics in August 2017, as well as recruiting 500 volunteers for the length of the event, it will surely be a fantastic opportunity for local businesses and our community.
What are you looking forward to most about hosting the games? We’d love to hear from you in the Comments.
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