Special Olympics Athlete Billy Quick Will Make Historic Run in Havana.
Special Olympics Athlete Billy Quick will join World T.E.A.M. (The Exceptional Athlete Matters) Sports(R) in being the first U.S. Team to participate in Cuba's Havana Marathon, Marabana 2000, on Sunday, Nov. 19. Approximately 5,000 men and women from more than 25 countries will race through Havana, while thousands of Cubans in 155 municipalities compete in simultaneous sports events all over the country.
The race will be run through the historic streets of Old Havana and along the city's beautiful beaches. Marabana 2000 is the premier event of MARACUBA 2000, an unprecedented sports festival marking Cuba's Day of Physical Sports and Culture.
"We are proud to have Billy Quick as part of our exceptional team of athletes to represent World T.E.A.M Sports in this wonderful international event," said WTS Founder and Co-Chairman, James M. Benson. "Our presence in the Havana Marathon is an example of the power of sports to bring countries and people with different political beliefs together."
Billy Quick is an accomplished Special Olympics marathoner and cyclist whose achievements include completing the New York Marathon within the top 14 percent. Quick has traveled to Africa and the Netherlands as a Special Olympics Sargent Shriver Global Messenger, and was a spokesperson for Special Olympic athletes at the 1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games.
"The vitality of the Special Olympics movement relies on athletes like Billy Quick, who though sport, continue to break barriers," said Timothy Shriver, President and CEO of Special Olympics, Inc. "Billy's courage, determination and sportsmanship should be an inspiration to us all."
Each year World T.E.A.M. Sports fields a team in a marathon in some remote corner of the world to demonstrate the value of diverse and integrated teams. The World T.E.A.M. Sports Havana team includes novice to elite athletes, non- disabled and disabled men and women ranging in age from 16 to 75 and hailing from 15 states in the U.S.
World T.E.A.M. Sports, a non-profit organization based in Charlotte, North Carolina, was created seven years ago with the goal of bridging diverse communities while providing opportunities for all persons, especially those with disabilities, to become involved in lifetime sports. Teams have climbed mountains in Africa, bicycled across the Gobi Desert, run marathons in Antarctica and circumnavigated the globe by bicycle. The idea is to build one team -- one that is sustained by diversity, collective grit and determination, compassion and the desire to achieve.
Special Olympics is an international year-round program of sports training and competition for individuals with mental retardation. More than one million athletes in over 160 countries train and compete in 25 Olympic-type summer and winter sports. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with mental retardation continuing opportunities to develop fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their families and community. Athletes and their families are not charged a fee to participate in Special Olympics. Special Olympics is grateful to its worldwide sponsors, America Online, The Coca-Cola Company, Oracle Corporation, and Phoenix Home Life Mutual Insurance Company, for providing ongoing funding and support to its global mission.
Visit Special Olympics online at http://www.specialolympics.org or on AOL (Keyword: Special Olympics).