PyeongChang 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games ends
CHAD WISE / Sports Features Communications
February 8 – The Special Olympics World Winter Games PyeongChang 2013 officially closed on Tuesday, 5 February, at the YongPyong Dome. The Closing Ceremony, directed by ByeongWoo with the theme of ‘Dream Echo,’ continued the week-long message of harmony and unity spread worldwide under the slogan ‘Together We Can.’
Special Olympics Isle of Man athlete Gareth Cowin, who passed away a few days ago, was given a special tribute during the ceremony. The entire delegation stood to recognise their teammate and friend. Special Olympics Chairman and CEO Time Shriver, Games Organizing Committee Chairwoman Na Kyung Won, and numerous others each spoke to the delegation during the ceremony, while the flag was lowered, the Games’ flame extinguished, and the torch passed to Los Angeles, the host of the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games.
Concluding the ‘Together We Can’ theme, Shriver proclaimed ‘Together We DID!’ during the ceremony, and urged the crowd to continue the momentum of these Games.
“Here we come, L.A., here we come, world,” he said. “Watch out – together we can. Congratulations, athletes.”
Legendary figure skaters Michelle Kwan and Yuna Kim performed for the crowd and did a flash mob routine with Special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities, showcasing the unifying power of sport.
“I want to thank the people of Korea for hosting these games,” Kwan said to the media before her performance. “All of the athletes are champions, and I’m excited to be here with them. There are four million Special Olympics athletes around the world, all of who have learned a lot from sports. We’ve all fallen and learned how to pick yourself back up. It’s about doing your very own best. Everybody is a winner here.”
The ceremony ended with Korean K-pop groups EXO-K, f(x), and the Wonder Girls performances before a finale rendition of the hit ‘Gangnam Style.’ Held from 29 January to 5 February, the 2013 PyeongChang Special Olympics World Winter Games hosted more than 3000 athletes and coaches from 106 countries competing in seven categories of sports including alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing, speed skating, figure skating, floor hockey, and a demo sport floorball.
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