The 16th Winter Deaflympics Organizing Committee has been very hard at work preparing for next Winter Deaflympics. All Winter Deaflympics sports and ceremonies venues have been reserved, and arrangements made for preparation of competition surfaces to international competition standards. Because of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, which were held in Salt Lake in 2002, the Organizing Committee has received excellent community support and has been able to recruit sports officials with international certification and experience.
The International Committee on Sports of the Deaf (ICSD/CISS) Executive Committee and winter Technical Directors (TDs) came to Salt Lake City 1-4 March 2006, to meet with the Organizing Committee and inspect all of the venues. The Executive Committee and TDs not only approved the venues, but also gave the Organizing Committee invaluable, constructive suggestions for improving the implementation and management of the upcoming Winter Deaflympics. We are very thankful for their help.
While the Executive Committee and TDs were in town, the Organizing Committee had a televised press conference during which the ICSD Executive Committee and TDs were introduced, and the new 16th Winter Deaflympics logo was announced to the public. The new logo was designed by deaf commercial artist Suzanne Stecker, with suggestions provided by members of the Organizing Committee. Information packets on the 16th Winter Deaflympics are now being printed and will be mailed out to each of the 94 ICSD member national deaf sports federations by the end of March.
After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, the U.S. government made many changes to its tourist visa requirements and processing procedures. If you plan to come to the 16th Winter Deaflympics, we encourage you, your Deaflympics team members, and tourists from your country to visit a United States embassy or consulate as soon as they can. This is important because the new visa requirements are stricter and take more time to process. The 2007 Deaflympics information packet contains information on visa requirements, or you can get the same information from the U.S, Department of State website, www.travel.state.gov/visa. If you need help in getting your United States visa, you can contact the Organizing Committee Secretary-General, at Secretary-General@2007Deaflympics.com. Addresses and contact information for of USA embassies and consulates are available at http://usembassy.state.gov.
The 16th Winter Deaflympics headquarters hotel will be Little America Hotel in Downtown Salt Lake City, which also was the 2002 Olympic Winter Games headquarters hotel. With 5 of 22 2007 Deaflympics teams already booked at Little America Hotel, and more expected to follow, Little America Hotel will become the center Deaflympics social and cultural activities, where the Organizing Committee, ICSD, and many national team offices will be located. The hotel has free internet access, for your laptop computers, in each guest room, and will be the only official Deaflympics hotel to have a free Internet Café for use by guests who do not bring their own computers. There also will be free use of VideoPhones, which allow deaf and hard of hearing people to telecommunicate in sign language or through speech and lip reading.
Little America Hotel is now around 50% booked for the 2007 Winter Deaflympics, and may be full by the end of the summer. If your national deaf sports federation is sending a team to compete in the Salt Lake Deaflympics, we encourage you to make your hotel reservations as soon as you can. Hotel reservations information is available at www.2007Deaflympics.com, which has a Hotels hyperlink to the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau (SLCVB), which is handling 2007 Deaflympics hotel reservations and can make special arrangements for teams wishing to arrive in Salt Lake early, to train before the Deaflympics begin.
All 2007 Winter Deaflympics athletes and team support personnel with official credentials will be given free admission to all competition and ceremonies venues except for the Farewell Celebration Party to be held after the Closing Ceremony. Because of the cost of food to be served, credentialed athletes and team members can purchase Farewell Celebration Party tickets for USD $35.00 each at the Organizing Committee Information Booth, at Little America Hotel.
For visitors who are not members of official Deaflympics teams, tickets will be required for the Opening Ceremony, all ice hockey competition, all curling competition, and the Farewell Celebration Party. Tickets will not be required for the alpine ski, snowboard, and cross country ski competition venues.
The Organizing Committee is offering a “Combo Ticket,” which grants admission to all events for which tickets are required and the Farewell Celebration Party, plus a 16th Winter Deaflympics program book, for USD $130.00. This is a saving of USD$70.00 over the cost of individual ticket and program book prices. Only 2,750 Combo Tickets will be sold. Advance purchase of Combo tickets will be available through the www.2007Deaflympics.com starting in late April 2006. Individual tickets for the Opening Ceremony will be sold at the site, and tickets for the Farewell Celebration Party will be available at the Organizing Committee Information Booth at Little America Hotel January 30 through February 6, 2007. Individual tickets for the ice hockey and curling games may or may not be available at door on the day of competition, depending on the availability of seating.
Up-to-date information on the 16th Salt Lake USA Winter Deaflympics is now available at our website, www.2007Deaflympics.com. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone to Salt Lake City USA on 1-10 February 2007.