ams‘ heartbeat for Special Olympics 2017

Special Olympics Winter Games 2017 in Austria

"Heartbeat for the World" – under this slogan the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 for people with intellectual disabilities are going to take place from March 14th to 25th, 2017. The Special Olympics Winter Games 2017 will take place for the second time in Austria at the venues Graz, Schladming and Ramsau, featuring 2,700 athletes from around the world.

ams is the first company in Austria in the history of Special Olympics that participates in the  Host Town Program, and takes over the partnership of the team USA, the biggest team of the Special Olympics Winter Games 2017. More than 60 employees of ams, the so-called "ams heartbeat volunteers", are helping with the preparation and execution of the program, which starts March 14 with the welcome of the guests by the ams Organizing Committee at the Vienna Airport. ams' commitment to helping people with physical and developmental disabilities is part of the company's overall focus on inclusion and diversity as well as our culture that encourages employees to give back to the communities in which they work and live.

Host Town Program

Watch our latest video to get some impressions of our Host Town Program for the athletes of the US team.

ams' Host Town Program included to an official welcome of the team and the transfer to the hotel Ramada in Premstaetten, a one-day sightseeing trip to the castle Riegersburg and Zotter chocolate manufactory in the south-east of Styria, as well as a welcome-dinner as a highlight at ams' headquarters.

ams Host Town Program

Tuesday, March 14
Welcome of the guests by the ams Organizing Committee at the Vienna Airport

Wednesday, March 15
The U.S. athletes will visit the castle Riegersburg and the Zotter chocolate factory, and finish the day with dinner at the headquarters of ams

Thursday, March 16
The athletes will return to their respective venues in Graz, Ramsau and Schladming to prepare for their competitions

Welcome Day - The athletes arrived in Austria!

ams welcomes the U.S. team at the Vienna Airport and at the hotel Ramada in Premstaetten. The atheletes got a small goodie bag with refreshments for the journey to their destination in Premstaetten. The "ams heartbeat volunteers" and the "Premstättner Stadtmusikanten" from the municipality of Premstätten, which is a partner of ams in this great project, provided the athletes a warm welcome in Premstaetten.

Day Trip to Riegersburg & Zotter

On Wednesday, the athletes make a trip to castle Riegersburg in the south-east of Styria. Especially for this event the Riegersburg has opened their doors, as it is normally closed for winter pause at this time. Prince Emanuel von und zu Liechtenstein himself as well as major Manfred Reisenhofer welcomed the olympians at the castle. This program is surrounded by the musicians "Chorforum Gleisdorf", directed by Franz Jochum.

The next adventure leads the athletes to the chocolate-manufactory Zotter. During the exciting tasting tour through the Choco Shop Theatre they experience live how chocolate is created. The athletes can look inside the production and check out at the tasting stations how the cocoa bean is transformed into chocolate.

We care. Our heartbeat for Special Olympics 2017

Athletes from the team USA

Christopher Perdue, Special Olympics Indiana, Snowboarding

Chris Perdue, 18, of Osgood, Indiana has been competing in Special Olympics for five years. He credits a high school teacher for getting him involved. Now, Chris is gearing up to take the international stage at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria where he will compete in snowboarding.
Through Special Olympics, Chris has recognized his desire to coach snowboarding and help others as well as compete.

When asked what Special Olympics means to him, Chris says it’s an opportunity “where you can meet people from different places.”

Chris says representing his country at the World Games means everything to him and he’s most looking forward to snowboarding in Austria.

“I couldn’t care less if I win, but it doesn’t matter how I do.” He continues, “[It’s a] once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Back in Indiana, a local skateboard shop in sponsors him. Although snowboarding is his favorite sport, Chris also competes in basketball annually. Outside of Special Olympics Chris enjoys skateboarding and BMX. He also works at Hibbet Sports.

“I wasn’t expecting to go this far in snowboarding,” says Chris.

Chris draws inspiration from his family – his brother, sister and especially his mom who he says pushes him to do his best.

“Thanks for being the best mom in the world.”