Special Olympics brings millions to Sheffield

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Posted 15th August 2017

It’s the country’s disability sporting event of the year and saw thousands turn out to watch more than 2,600 athletes with learning disabilities compete in 20 sporting categories.

And Sheffield athletes performed well, representing their host city over four days of competition, with gold medallists including Jordan Brace (Boccia), Michael Hill (table tennis) and Nathan Hill (athletics).

Now Sheffield City Council, which successfully bid to host the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games – first in 1993 and again this year, has revealed the event brought in an estimated £1.4 million to the city last week.

Councillor Olivia Blake, Deputy Leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “The Special Olympic Games were amazing and it was an absolute pleasure to host them.

“Sheffield witnessed some incredible sporting achievements and we were inspired by the athletes.

“The event also boosted the city economically, through spend on accommodation, travel, at the venues and all the other great things we have on offer. I’d like to thank the Games organisers, the athletes, volunteers, visitors and all the supporters for making the Special Olympics such a success.”

Fringe events took place throughout Sheffield during the Games week and saw hundreds of children and adults with a learning disability try out new sports including tennis, cricket, basketball, athletics, boccia and golf.

Sheffield residents also became part of the Games by taking part in a mass-participation art display which is on show in the Winter Gardens.

Karen Wallin, CEO of Special Olympics Great Britain, said: “I would like to thank SCC, your staff and the public of Sheffield for giving our athletes, families, coaches and supporters such a warm welcome to the city.  With over 1,000 volunteers – many of them local people – giving up to 12 hours a day, I think I can safely say that these Games are going to be one of the most successful we have ever held!

“The sporting venues are second to none and I hope that these Games will be remembered as another great sporting moment hosted in Sheffield.”

The Special Olympics GB National Summer Games are held every four years. This year’s event is the tenth time it has been held, and the second time it has been held in Sheffield.

The estimated £1.4m boost to Sheffield from the Games is made up on spend on accommodation, local travel and venue hire. Event organisers think the figure will be higher in reality, once further spend in restaurants, leisure and retail is taken into account.

Local delivery partners for the Games included Sheffield City Council, Sheffield United, University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield International Venues and Stagecoach Yorkshire.

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