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Lane swaps football for Special Olympic flame

9 August 2017

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Heavy rain did not dampen spirits as the Special Olympics GB's Summer Games 2017 kicked off in style at Bramall Lane with a spectacular opening ceremony.

More than 2,600 athletes of all ages descended on the stadium as the 10th event of its kind got underway in Sheffield with a ceremony which was attended by thousands of athletes' friends and family, as well as people from across the city.

This year's event is the second time that the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games have been held in Sheffield, with the first coming in 1993.

Competitors from all corners of the UK and abroad - including 19 athletes from Australia - were met with huge cheers and applause as they proudly walked into the stadium and waved to the crowd.

Entertainment at the event, which was hosted by Downton Abbey's Jim Carter, F1 broadcaster Suzi Perry and football pundit Chris Kamara, included Spandau Ballet's Tony Hadley and Sheffield band Toseland - fronted by former double World Superbikes Champion James Toseland.

The band performed 'We'll Stop at Nothing', the 2017 Official Special Olympics National Summer Games Anthem, with all profits going to the charity to support athletes with learning disabilities.

Dave McCarthy, Operations Director at United said: "We are extremely proud to have hosted and supported an event as brilliant as the Special Olympics' opening ceremony.

"The enthusiasm of both the athletes and the spectators was infectious - despite the rain, the atmosphere was unbelievable.

"It was also great to show what Bramall Lane has to offer as a venue for events outside of football. It was a really impressive ceremony and this, together with other events such as Kell Brook's fight against Errol Spence Jr earlier this year and last year's Nitro Circus event, highlight how lucky we are to have a venue that is more than just a football stadium."

The Games will feature a wide range of sporting events including aquatics, cycling and ten pin bowling. A range of skills will be put to the test in the Games, which will last four days, ending on 12th August.

Venues for the Games will include the Sheffield Hallam University City Athletics Stadium, Sheffield City Trust's Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Hillsborough Leisure Centre, Concord Sports Centre, the English Institute of Sport Sheffield, Sheffield Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre and Forge Valley School.

For the full schedule visit

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