Volunteers from Coca‑Cola HBC Austria experience a great day at the 11th Special Olympics World Winter Games.

He’s focused; concentrating hard. The helmet sits perfectly, he checks his glasses again and - off he goes! With a swing Dominik Henn starts his snowboard run.

Again and again, it seems as if the young man will be thrown off the mountain. He clenches his teeth as he fights his way from gate to gate. The noise from the fan area is getting louder – cheers, trumpets, rattles. Only a few metres left…  and he passes the finish line. Finally, his hands rise in the air, a broad grin brightening his face. The fans cheer with excitement. Dominik unstraps his snowboard and gives the assistants a big hug. Family members storm into the area and congratulate their hero. The athlete is so proud that he has achieved his goal - to finish the race. The time doesn’t matter.

This is the Special Olympics World Winter Games.

Snowboarder celebrates at the Special Olympics

Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organisation for people with intellectual disabilities, with more than 4.7 million athletes in 169 countries taking part in 32 different Olympic-type sports. It was the vision of Eunice Kennedy Shriver; her son, Timothy, continues her legacy as a Chairman of an organisation that has been changing lives and attitudes for nearly 50 years.

Dominik embodies the Special Olympics motto: "Let me win, but if  I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”.

The Coca Cola Company has been the founding partner and global sponsor of Special Olympics since 1968, supporting its programmes with cash, in-kind benefits, volunteers and awareness-driving initiatives.  

And this month (14 - 25 March), the province of Styria in Austria is welcoming 2,700 athletes and 1,100 trainers from 107 countries - not to mention 3,000 volunteers and 5,000 family members - for the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017.

What a day, it was really fantastic! Maximilian Strack, Regional Sales Manager

Fans in the Stands

About 70 employees, family and friends from Coca‑Cola HBC Austria have been supporting the Special Olympics World Winter Games through the ‘Fans in the Stands’ volunteer programme. On 19 March the group travelled to Styria, looking forward to being part of a wonderful experience.

Their task was to support the athletes and to make sure there was a good atmosphere in the fan area. Equipped with Coca‑Cola woolly hats, scarves and some fan accessories, they were in the thick of things, helping to create an incredible mood.

So what was it like? We’ve let our volunteers speak for themselves…

A real moment of sharing our hearts and emotions with those taking part in the Special Olympics! It was a very special experience for our families and children. Oleksandr Vodotyka, Country Procurement Manager
It was an emotionally unforgettable day, with so much joy and positive energy from these great people, these athletes. I will never forget it - thank you! Ronny Kreutzer, Key Account Manager