SALT LAKE CITY (February 6, 2006) - The Sorenson Legacy Foundation announced that it is donating $250,000 to sponsor the opening ceremonies of the 2007 Winter Deaflympics. The Games are expected to draw 400 deaf athletes from 20+ countries and over 6,000 fans to Salt Lake and Park City, 1 - 10 February 2007. The donation is the largest cash gift the international sports competition has received.
"We are elated by this very generous donation from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation," said Dwight Benedict, chair of the 2007 Winter Deaflympics Organizing Committee. "There is a great deal of excitement in the deaf community about coming to Utah to compete at some of the world's most challenging winter sports venues. This Sorenson gift is a big step towards accomplishing our goals for 2007."
The Deaflympics are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the quadrennial competition for deaf athletes, and by hosting the Games, Salt Lake City becomes the first city in the world to have hosted the Olympic, Paralympic, and Deaflympic Winter Games. Rules and procedures in the Deaflympics are similar to those in Olympic competitions except flashing lights and hand signals or flags are used instead of starting guns or whistles.
"We're proud to take part in making the 2007 Winter Deaflympics successful," said James Lee Sorenson, a member of the board of directors of the Sorenson Legacy Foundation. "These games are very important to the deaf community and this is a wonderful opportunity for Utahns to further the Olympic ideals of promoting international friendship and cooperation through athletic competition." Sorenson, a nationally recognized advocate for the deaf community, and Dr. I. King Jordan, president of Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, are co-chairs of the 2007 Winter Deaflympics Honorary Advisory Board. Other major sponsors of the 2007 Winter Deaflympics to date are Sorenson Communications, Communications Service for the Deaf (CSD), Utah Office of Tourism, George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation and DeafNation.
The 16th Winter Deaflympics will include five individual and team events: alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey and curling. Some of the venues will be the same as those used for Utah's 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Snowboarding and alpine skiing will take place at Park City Mountain Resort and cross country skiing will be at Soldier Hollow Nordic Center.
About Sorenson Legacy Foundation
The Sorenson Legacy Foundation is a non-profit corporation established by the James LeVoy Sorenson family for the exclusive purpose of promoting charitable, religious, educational, literary, and scientific endeavors. The Foundation is qualified under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
About the Deaflympics
The Deaflympics, which is under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee, began in Paris in 1924 and is the second oldest multi-sport and cultural event in the world. The 16th Winter Deaflympics will be held in Utah 1 - 10 Feburary, 2007.