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Special Olympian Joins Heroes At Sydney Olympics



Special Olympian, Caroline Tangitau, is joining her heroes at the Olympics thanks to Shell and media company Val Morgan Cinema Advertising, the first Cinema Advertising company to be awarded Olympic Partner status.

The two companies are sending the 18-year old swimmer and her coach, Margaret Baker, to Sydney to enjoy the spectacle of this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Shell Corporate Communications Manager (Oceania), Antonius Papaspiropoulos, says with Games coverage naturally focussed on competing athletes, it is easy to overlook the 60 Special athletes who represent New Zealand at their own International Special Olympic Games every four years.

"As a long-time sponsor of the Special Olympics, we thought this was a perfect opportunity to acknowledge one of the rising stars in the Special Olympics field, and turn the spotlight on sporting achievements which don't enjoy the same level of interest and publicity."

"Caroline has represented New Zealand at the Special Olympics in North Carolina. Caroline won a Silver medal in the medley relay at the 1999 World Summer Special Olympic Games, and she achieved fourth place in 50m free, 50m back, 50m breast and freestyle relay. Caroline was competing at a very high level and in tough heats. Hopefully, by seeing some of her heroes at Sydney, she will go on to win even more medals in her sporting career."

Val Morgan General Manager, Simon Gooding says his company is delighted to be able to give Auckland-based, Caroline Tangitau this special opportunity.

"It's easy to get caught up in the media frenzy and forget that sport is for everyone, no matter what their physical or intellectual disability. We're really delighted to be able to give a rising star like Caroline the chance to revel in this truly spectacular event."

Special Olympics chief executive, Chris Hooper says by giving Caroline this opportunity, Shell and Val Morgan have turned a dream into a reality for one very special swimmer.

"The next Special Olympics World Games will take place in Dublin, Ireland, in 2003, which, for another group of our athletes will be the pinnacle of their lives. To see the Worlds top sportsmen and women in action will inspire Caroline to achieve even greater things for herself both in and out of the pool."


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