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Special Olympics Team Returns Triumphant

For immediate release

9 March 2005

SPECIAL OLYMPICS TEAM RETURNS TRIUMPHANT

New Zealand's Special Olympics team, which is returning from Nagano, Japan, tomorrow, will be weighed down with medals after their hugely successful trip to compete in the 2005 Special Olympics World Winter Games.

The team members have every reason to smile as they arrive in Auckland after an outstanding effort which saw each of the six athletes win at least one medal, with a final tally of 4 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze medals.

The Games, held at the venue of the 1998 Winter Olympics, saw the New Zealand athletes compete at high levels in skiing and ice figure-skating alongside some 2,500 athletes from 80 - mostly Northern Hemisphere - countries.

"The fact that the team competed out of season against athletes who have been training in more appropriate conditions makes their achievement even more remarkable," said Special Olympics New Zealand CEO Angus McLeod. "They saw the challenge, trained hard at home and overseas, and came home victorious. We're very proud of them and the management team which supported them so capably."

ENDS

Media notes:

More information about the Games can be found on the official website www.2005sowwg.com .

The welcome function on 10 March will begin at the Arrival's Lounge of Auckland's International Airport when the team arrives (ETA 11:55am) after which it will move to the welcome room next to the Spinnaker Bar on Level 2 (top floor).

After the welcome function at Auckland Airport the team will continue on to their home towns. Head Coach Bridget Spencer will depart Auckland at 2.30pm to arrive in Wellington at 3.30pm. All South Island team members will depart Auckland at 2.30pm to arrive in Christchurch at 3.50pm. Athletes Brodie Carvalho, Sara Perkins and Robyn Harrison and Coach Brian Benn will leave Christchurch at 4.50pm to Dunedin, where they will arrive at 5.45pm.

Media are invited to attend arrivals for interviews, photos and footage.

The official results are:

GOLD

SILVER

BRONZE

4TH

5TH

6TH

DNF

DOWNHILL

Robyn Harrison

Sara Perkins

Paul Spencer

Brodie Carvalho

Hamish Chand

GIANT SLALOM

Brodie Carvalho

Sara Perkins

Hamish Chand

Paul Spencer

Robyn Harrison

SLALOM

Robyn Harrison

Sara Perkins

Hamish Chand

Brodie Carvalho

Paul Spencer

ICE-FIGURE SKATING

Nick Apperley

The team members are Brodie Carvalho (a skier from Otago), Sara Perkins (skier - Otago), Robyn Harrison (skier - Otago), Paul Spencer (skier - Auckland), Hamish Chand (skier - Canterbury), and Nicholas Apperley (ice figure-skater - Canterbury) and coaches Bridget Spencer (head ski coach - Wellington), Brian Benn (ski coach - Otago) and Maryna Tsevina (head ice figure-skating coach - Canterbury), official Eric Apperley (ice figure-skating - Canterbury) and the Head of the Delegation is Dave Pryor (Canterbury).

Notes for Editors: Special Olympics New Zealand (SONZ) is a registered charitable organisation which has operated throughout New Zealand since 1983. It is dedicated to providing sports training and competition for children and adults with an intellectual disability. SONZ emphasises participation for individuals at all levels of ability, achieving personal best performances, and regular coaching, training and competition for all athletes. Just over 3800 athletes currently participate on a regular basis. SONZ is supported by the SKYCITY Auckland Community Trust (SKYCITY has been our major sponsor since 1996), SPARC and Provender.

Special Olympics was founded in the US in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver. There are more than 150 accredited national programmes world wide. The flagship events for the movement are the international Special Olympics World Games, which are held every two years alternating between Summer and Winter Games. The next international event in which New Zealand will compete is the World Summer Games to be held in Shanghai, China, in 2007. New Zealand's largest ever national event, the Special Olympics New Zealand National and Asia-Pacific Invitation Games, will be held in Christchurch in November/December 2005. Some 2000 athletes are expected, including a number from overseas.


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