FC Bayern Georg Emmerdinger Diego Contento

FC Bayern supports torch relay and welcomes athletes

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Munich and FC Bayern are looking forward to the biggest inclusive sports festival in the world. As one of more than 200 host cities in Germany for the 16th Special Olympics World Games in Berlin (17 to 25 June 2023), the Bavarian capital welcomed Team Canada before the Games. The starting signal was a torch relay, in which the German record champions were also represented. Afterwards, the Canadian and Mauritian delegations from the nearby host city of Rosenheim received an invitation to the Allianz Arena.

FC Bayern employee Georg Emmerdinger leads the way

Georg Emmerdinger had the honour of carrying the torch as the start runner on the circular route through the Munich Olympic Park on Tuesday morning. The FC Bayern employee is himself one of the most successful German Special Olympics participants and has already won 33 gold medals on skis, in the water and on the bike. The 39-year-old now proved just how good his form is alongside FC Bayern legend Diego Contento. The FCB duo led the field of almost 1,000 athletes on the approximately 1.8-kilometre barrier-free course around Lake Olympia before Emmerdinger passed the Olympic torch to "Unity", the mascot of this year's Special Olympics.

It was quite exciting that the world's largest inclusive sporting event was now stopping at his home in Munich, Emmerdinger said: "How euphoric everyone was, and also to welcome a team from another country is not an everyday occurrence. That's why I was very impressed." This enthusiasm was transmitted to all participants: "When you have a figureheads like a multiple gold medallist and an FC Bayern player, they are role models who have great appeal for all participants," said Jürgen Sonneck, who, as head of the Sports Office of the City of Munich, was jointly responsible for the implementation of the event.

Two delegations guests at Allianz Arena

For Emmerdinger and the athletes from Mauritius, the journey continued directly from the Olympic Park to the Allianz Arena. After a short reception, the delegation from the East African island state went on a tour of the German record champions' home ground and immersed themselves in the history of the club with the largest number of members in the world in the FC Bayern Museum.

FC Bayern also welcomed athletes from the Special Olympics World Games to its stadium on Wednesday. Emmerdinger had a very special surprise in store for the delegation from Canada during their tour of the home ground of the old and new German champions: Bayern star Alphonso Davies addressed his compatriots via video message and got them in the mood for the upcoming competitions: "You can be proud of how far you have come! Let's go, Team Canada," the full-back could be heard saying from the screens in the Arena's mixed zone, generating excitement among the Canadian athletes.

"Alphonso Davies is an ambassador for Canadian football, the message from him means a lot to our Special Olympics team," said Steve Dreger, who will be one of the coaches of the Canadian women's football team at the Games in Berlin. But that's not the only reason why the tour of the Allianz Arena was "an incredible experience" for him and his team. Even before the inclusive competition at the 16th Special Olympics World Games, one thing is certain: the visit to Germany will remain unforgettable for the participants from all over the world, far beyond the shared sporting experience.

The Special Olympics for disabled people takes place from 17 to 25 June in Berlin. FC Bayern is supporting the event:

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