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Let these Games send a message of hope to the Greeks, Maria Menounos says

Bright and beautiful, American television presenter of Greek descent Maria Menounos was the center of attention along with renowned singer Stevie Wonder at a press conference held for the opening of the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens on June 25.

 

Menounos said she recognized how difficult the economic situation in Greece is and how these Games could send a message of optimism and hope to the country that gave birth to sports. “I hope the stadium fills up tonight because it’s a wonderful feeling to be involved in these Games,” she noted.

 

“It’s a great opportunity and honor for me to sing for these special athletes of the Special Olympics. After the death of my mother, I had stopped singing for a while, but the Special Olympics athletes gave me the inspiration to continue,” said living legend Stevie Wonder, among the celebrities opening the Games at the Panathenaic Stadium this evening.

 

“Our athletes are the best in the world and deserve our applause,” said Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International, while Special Olympics Hellas President Johanna Despotopoulou said that that world is defined not by those who are left out but by those who participate in it.

 

“The Special Olympics family is huge and tries to create an environment of human dignity. I thank you for coming from all over the world to applaud our athletes. I would like to ask all of you to join me in repeating the motto of the Games, ‘I’m in’,
Despotopoulou added.

 

Tenor Marios Frangoulis said he was proud he is Greek and that his home country is hosting these Games. He thanked Fokas Evangelinos for designing the opening ceremony, where “every athletes recreates the saga of Odysseus,” while tenor Vittorio Grigolo noted that “it is a unique opportunity to give and receive love. We as artists should bring out the spirit and feelings we have inside us. The Greeks watching these athletes must draw strength and believe there is a better future ahead.”

 

Finally, model and actress Vanessa Williams said she is proud that since 1992 she has participated in the Special Olympics movement, which shines a light throughout the world.



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