Important European support for 2014
It was announced at the official opening of the three-day exhibition ‘Changing Lives’ on Special Olympics in the European Parliament that the EU will provide the organising committee with substantial financial support. “We hold the work performed by organisations like Special Olympics in high regard,” says Kathleen Van Brempt, a host country European MP, of the financial backing. “When we learnt that the budget was under threat, we did everything possible to ensure that the Summer Games in Antwerp would be organised. And we’re happy to assure the athletes, volunteers and hosting municipalities that the show will go on, as a budget of 2 million euros has been made available. I hope that my many colleagues will take the time during this exhibition at the European Parliament to become acquainted with Special Olympics athletes and to wholeheartedly support them.”
MEP Kathleen Van Brempt gets thank-you-flowers for her enormous support for SO2014.
Mary Davis, Regional President of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia (SOEE) and responsible for the growth of Special Olympics in all European Countries, the Eurasian region and Central Asia emphasizes the European strength as follows: "We once again greatly appreciate the support of the European Parliament in making it possible for Antwerp to host the 2014 Special Olympics European Summer Games. These "Games of the Heart" are set to be the best ever and will showcase to the entire European Community the triumphs that people with intellectual disabilities can achieve." Mary Davis also officially announced the organization of the World Winter Games in Austria in 2017.
Two Special Olympics athletes – André Schepers, Belgian sportsman, and Melitta Golub of Croatia – highlighted the international importance of the SO2014 ‘Games of the Heart’. “Special Olympics are my home,” is how André Schepers puts it. “Thanks to them I could attend the World Summer Games in Athens and meet other athletes from different countries. And even if we don’t speak each other’s languages, we always understand and learn from each other. And we all take the best things back home with us.”
left to right: Mary Davis (Regional President of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia (SOEE)), Micheline van Hees (member of the athletes comittee, member of the Board SOBelgium), Melitta Golub (athlete from Zagreb, Croatia; speed skating, skiing, roller blading & table tennis), André Schepers (Belgian athlete), Guido Kestens (Executive Chairman SO2014), Fabrice Aldenhoff (athlete and musician).