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The 2017 Special Winter Olympics are set to be held in Graz, Austria this year, and with 3000 athletes from 110 countries competing, it is certainly going to be one of the biggest Special Olympics so far. The last time the Special Winter Olympics was held in Austria was back in 1993, and the country was the first outside of the US to hold the Special Olympic World Games. Here we’re taking a look at what the Special Winter Olympic World Games are, and how you can get involved when you move to Austria.

About the Special Winter Olympics

The Special Winter Olympics aim to empower those with intellectual disabilities and promote acceptance, by providing year round sports training, athletic competition and more to 5 million athletes in 170 countries around the world. The international organisation Special Olympics was founded in 1968, and the games take place every 2 years. The Special Winter Olympics are taking place from 14th – 24th March 2017 in Austria, and will be held mainly in Graz, with a few sports being held in Schladming. However, while the games start on the 14th, the official opening ceremony is not until March 18th.

The vision of the Special Winter Olympics

The idea behind the Special Winter Olympics is to gain positive attributes of sport, athletes, families and volunteers. The aims of the 2017 Winter Olympics are as follows:

  • Strengthening of human rights
  • Increasing the number of participants by introducing new sports
  • Creating partnership programs
  • Developing globalised relations with additional sponsor activities


There are a number of disciplines throughout the Special Winter Olympics, where athletes from across the globe will battle it out to get a medal. Some of the disciplines include:

  • Figure Skating
  • Speed Skating
  • Floor Hockey
  • Floorball
  • Snowshoeing
  • Alpine Skiing
  • Nordic Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Stick Shooting

There will also be a number of demonstration events such as dancing and MATP: Motor Activity Trainings Program. With a number of programs also set to be held throughout the event, there’s a lot for participants, trainers, volunteers, family members and friends, and honoured guests to get involved in.

Whether you’re volunteering at the Special Winter Olympics or you’re looking to follow all of the action as it happens, there’s no better place to do so than right in the heart of it. If you’re considering relocating to Austria then get in touch with a member of our expert team who can talk you through all of the details and requirements in regards to visas and more. We also provide a number of settling in services, to help to make the relocation process as smooth and efficient as possible. Contact a member of our local team in Vienna today.

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