Special Olympics Great Britain has announced Bank of America Merrill Lynch as an Official Supporter of their showpiece 2017 National Games in Sheffield later this year. As an Official Supporter, Bank of America Merrill Lynch will provide volunteers for the Opening Ceremony and support the Play Unified Summit calling for a more inclusive society.

Held every four years, the flagship Special Olympics GB National Summer Games is the country’s largest sports event for athletes with intellectual (learning) disabilities.

This year’s event marks the tenth in the history of Special Olympics GB and will see around 2,600 athletes compete in 20 sports – including Judo, Athletics, Golf, Sailing, Football and Tennis – across over a dozen Sheffield and South Yorkshire venues.

Bank of America has been a global partner of Special Olympics since 2003. Their long history of support spans over three decades as part of their ongoing commitment to achieving the goal of a more diverse and inclusive society. Other recent Special Olympics Games supported by the company include the World Summer Games (Los Angeles, 2015) and World Winter Games (Austria 2017). Bank employees are also mentoring 15 Special Olympics GB athletes through the 2017 Athlete Leadership programme.

Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, President EMEA at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said: “Building on our company’s 30 year history with Special Olympics, we are delighted to support the 2017 Special Olympics GB National Games. Our role will enable us to extend our support of the charity’s Athlete Leadership Programme and further spread the message of inclusion and respect for all.”

Karen Wallin, CEO of Special Olympics GB, commented: “We are thrilled to have secured Bank of America Merrill Lynch as a supporter of the Games. The company will make a significant contribution to the success of these Games, and will help deliver a great experience for our athletes.”

A list of the 20 sports and the venues at Special Olympics 2017 National Games include:

Football (Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park – SHUSP), Athletics (Sheffield Hallam University City Athletics Centre – SHUCAS), Swimming (Ponds Forge International Sports Centre), Boccia (Ponds Forge International Sports Centre), Badminton (English Institute of Sport Sheffield – EISS), Table Tennis (English Institute of Sport Sheffield – EISS), Judo (English Institute of Sport Sheffield – EISS), Young Athletes ‘Come & Try’ (English Institute of Sport Sheffield – EISS), Powerlifting (Forge Valley Community School), MATP (English Institute of Sport Sheffield – EISS), Gym Rhythmic (Ice Sheffield), Gym Artistic (Ice Sheffield), Golf (Rother Valley Golf Club), Sailing (Pugneys Watersports Centre & Country Park), Basketball (All Saints Sports Centre), Netball (All Saints Sports Centre), Short Mat Bowls (Graves Health and Sports Centre), Tennis (Graves Health and Sports Centre), Ten Pin Bowling (Hollywood Bowl), Cycling (Forge Valley Community School), Equestrian (Parklands Equestrian Centre), Indoor Bowls (Doncaster Indoor Bowls Club).


Our confirmed sponsors so far include:

Presenting Sponsors – Sheffield City Council, Coca Cola Company Foundation.‎

Games Partners – Stagecoach Yorkshire.

Games Sponsors – Coca Cola European Partners, Sheffield United Football Club.

Games Supporters – Speedo, Copthorne Sheffield, National Grid, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Lions, Xactium, SOS Group Ltd (Smart Office Systems), Henry Boot, Meadowhall & Sheffield International Venues.

Games Friends – Owlerton Stadium, ZiaBia, Glue.


For more information about the Special Olympics Great Britain National Summer Games 2017, please visit: http://www.sheffield2017.org.uk







Notes to editor:

* Special Olympics GB is a charity and the largest provider of a year-round sports programme in Great Britain and supports over 10,000 people of all abilities with intellectual (learning) disabilities.  Across, England, Scotland and Wales, approximately 27,000 regular sports coaching sessions of at least one hour are delivered locally each year by 140 accredited programmes across 28 different sports.

* This coaching activity leads to an annual average of 100 all ability, inclusive sports competitions. Its competition pathways make Special Olympics Great Britain unique within the disability sports sector as it provides for athletes of all abilities, opportunities to compete and progress at local, regional, national and international levels.  This extensive programme is led by over 4,000 dedicated volunteers in a variety of sports coaching, administrative, event, logistic, fundraising and supporting roles.
* For Special Olympics GB athletes, excellence is personal achievement, a reflection of reaching one’s maximum potential – a goal to which everyone can aspire.  For those Special Olympics athletes who attain an elite level in their sport, we support a pathway into Paralympics and other elite competitions.

* Special Olympics GB is part of a global movement that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition to nearly 5 million children and adults with intellectual (learning) disabilities in more than 170 countries.  Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of the late President John F Kennedy, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities opportunities to realise their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and build friendships.  Special Olympics is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as a member of the Olympic family. It is the only sports organisation authorised by the IOC to use the word ‘Olympics’ in its title.

* Special Olympics Great Britain is a registered charity and is generously supported annually by Founding Partner Coca-Cola Great Britain and Official Partners and Supporters: National Grid, Coca Cola Enterprises, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, The Geoff & Fiona Squire Foundation, Lions Clubs International (MD105) and CMS Cameron McKenna.

* There are an estimated 1.5 million people (2% population) with an intellectual (learning) disability in Great Britain. The year-round sport provided by Special Olympics is important to people with learning disabilities because adults and children with intellectual disabilities tend to have poorer health and the many emotional and physical problems associated with inactivity.


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For further information please contact:

Chris Hull

Special Olympics GB

Tel: 07713193927