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The Special Olympics come to 2018 Olympics host S. Korea

Jan 29, 2013, 1:22 PM EDT

PyeongChang Special Olympic Opening Ceremony Getty Images

South Korea will host the Winter Olympics in 2018. In the meantime, the nation is showcasing its sports culture at this week’s Special Olympics.

The Games started Tuesday and run through Feb. 5.

South Korea’s bid to host the Special Olympics started in 2009 after former lawmaker Na Kyung-won went to the Games in Idaho that year. Na, whose child has Down Syndrome, told the Associated Press she was amazed at the lack of support the South Korean team received from its government.

So the bid was launched, Na drummed up support from her nation’s leaders and the country won the 2013 Games. Na, the chief organizer, invited North Korea to participate as well, but she never received a response.

According to the AP story, about five percent of South Korea’s population of 50 million people are either physically or intellectually disabled. The government uses a classification system to rank its disabled citizens, which determines the amount of support each one should receive. Critics claim the system is a human rights violation.

Whatever the case, hosting intellectually disabled athletes from across the world seems like a good step at creating more support for South Korea’s disabled population.

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