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Morley, the Mascot!

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morley.jpgThe 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games announced today the official Games mascot. An eagle, named Morley, was chosen in honor of the late Morley Nelson, a champion of raptor conservation in Idaho and the West who devoted his life to educating others, especially young people. The mascot was unveiled at an assembly at Morley Nelson Elementary School in Boise today.

"Morley is a great symbol for these Games because he represents not only the wild beauty of Idaho but the spirit that Special Olympics athletes all share," said Heather Hill, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games.

Members of Mr. Nelson's family were also in attendance. Norm Nelson, Morley Nelson's son, tol d students how proud his father would be to have an eagle named after him as the mascot for the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games. In honor of the event, he brought a golden eagle named "Slim" along to meet the students. The home of the Raptors then gave a rousing rendition of their school song to end the assembly. All 500 plus students in attendance were provided with a special gift-a lapel pin in the shape of Idaho that included the new mascot, Morley.

About the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games:
The 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games will be held in Idaho, USA, 7-13 February 2009 and nearly 2,500 athletes from more than 100 countries are expected to compete. Surpassing the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games in athlete numbers and participating nations, the World Winter Games will be the largest multi-day winter sporting event ever held in Idaho. Competition will take place in seven winter sports - Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing, Figure Skating, Floor Hockey, Snowboarding, Snowshoeing and Speed Skating. Competition and other activities will take place in communities and venues throughout Idaho including but not limited to Boise, Sun Valley and McCall. For more information, visit www.2009WorldGames.org.

About Special Olympics:
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Through year-round sports training and athletic competition and other related programming for nearly 3 million children and adults with intellectual disabilities in more than 180 countries, Special Olympics has created a model community that celebrates people's diverse gifts. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.

Indian fans can watch the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics live on ESPN at 2:30am on Sunday morning.

Photograph Copyright: Jo Menten