Special Olympics 2008
Saturday, Her Highness Princess Märtha Louise opened the Holmenkollen Special Olympics 2008. Special Olympics is the worlds largest sports organisation for people with intellectual disabilities.
The games took place at the Holmenkollen sports arena on February 23 - 24. Princess Märtha Louise and the Mayor of Oslo, Mr Fabian Stang, both attended the first day of the Games.
The Special Olympics movement aims to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. More than two million athletes from more than 160 countries compete in 30 disciplines, locally, nationally and internationally.
There are two traditional Special Olympics events in Norway: Bislett Special Olympics (athletics) and Holmenkollen Special Olympics (cross-country skiing).
Princess Märtha Louise is patron of Special Olympics Norway.
Every two years, the Special Olympics World Games are held, alternating between summer and winter games. The World Games 2007 were held in Shanghai, China. The Norwegian team consisted of 14 athletes competing in Judo, bocca, rhythmic gymnastics and football. The 2009 games will comprise winter games, and are to be held in Boise, USA.
The Special Olympics were founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of US President John F. Kennedy.
Congratulations are presented today from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia.
World Heritage at Vega
In 2004, UNESCO inscribed the Vega Archipelago on the World Heritage List. Today His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was in attendance to open the new Vega Archipelago World Heritage Centre – Norway’s first authorised centre of its kind.