Special Olympics Switzerland

World Winter Games 2029

Switzerland welcomes the global Special Olympics movement

The international Board of Directors of Special Olympics has provisionally awarded World Winter Games 2029 to Switzerland. The World Winter Games bring together people with and without intellectual disabilities, and are the world’s largest sports and humanitarian event.

World Winter Games is about more than sports. The national Special Olympics program in Switzerland partners with Swiss sport federations and clubs to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Games provide an immersive experience for an inclusive Switzerland, one where everyone to has equal access to sports, education, health, and all aspects of life.

For twelve days 2,500 athletes from 100 nations will compete in nine sports. They will be accompanied by countless family members, volunteers, fans, and media from around the world. Prior to the Opening Ceremony at Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich on 6 March 2029, athletes will get to know all regions of Switzerland via the Host Town program. After the Closing Ceremony on 17 March 2029, the impact of the Games will live on in the hearts and attitudes of the people of the canton of Graubünden and across the country.

The competitions in nine sporting disciplines will be held over six days in the canton of Graubunden: figure skating, short track, floorball, floor hockey in Chur; alpine skiing and snowboarding in Arosa; and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and dance at Lenzerheide.

The provisional award is still subject to a funding guarantee which is expected in September 2023, at which time a formal signing ceremony will take place. Special Olympics Switzerland now begins an eight-year campaign for inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities in policies and practices, a timeframe requested specifically in the Swiss bid to ensure a sustainable legacy.


Chur welcomes Special Olympics

Many thanks to all citizens of Chur. With yesterday’s yes vote, the people of Chur have not only approved the budget needed to hold an extraordinary sporting event, but have also sent an important signal for an inclusive society. The Special Olympics World Winter Games 2029 – the world’s largest humanitarian sports event for people...

Read more

Nino Schurter is an ambassador for the Special Olympics World Winter Games Switzerland 2029

Nino Schurter, the most successful Swiss mountain biker, is an ambassador for the Special Olympics World Winter Games Switzerland 2029. The professional athlete, who is one of the best mountain bikers in the world with nine world championship titles as well as Olympic gold, silver and bronze, also wants to use his energy for a...

Read more

I am convinced that the hosting of the World Winter Games 2029 in Switzerland will sustainably contribute to an inclusive society.

Federal Councillor Viola Amherd, Chair of the Federal Department of Defence and Sport

Questions / Answers

Which disciplines will be on offer?

Types of sport Pictogram Total Athletes Coaches
Ski Alpine
Ski Alpin
500 400 100
100 80 20
Cross Country Skiing
475 380 95
375 300 75
Figure Skating
240 190 50
Short Track
Short Track
270 215 55
Short Track
770 615 155
Floor Hockey
245 195 59
Dance Sport
165 130 35
3140 2505 635

All of Switzerland is joining in!

As with all Special Olympics World Games, the Host Town Programme takes place over four days ahead of the opening ceremony. Spread across every canton, the more than 100 delegations from different nations will prepare for their participation and get to know Switzerland. The Host Town Programme is designed to help the delegations interact with the population in general and school children in particular, build personal relationships and celebrate inclusivity in Swiss society. It will be held in places important to Swiss tourism.

What is the difference between the Special Olympics and the Paralympics?

Unlike the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the World Games are not an elite sports event. Every participant will be successful and be given a real opportunity to win a medal. There is no single winner in any of the disciplines.

Find out more

How can we promote the coexistence of people with and without disabilities?

The major goal of the World Winter Games 2029 (WWG 2029) is to bring people with and without disabilities closer together and to enable them to live together – also beyond sports. But where do we stand today in Switzerland with this coexistence and which points should we concretely address in the context of the preparation for this wonderful sports event?

On behalf of the WWG 2029 association, a basic study was carried out to examine the question of how worlds could move closer together in sport, living and working. For this purpose, existing studies, statistical data and legal bases were compiled and supplemented by interviews with people with and without disabilities. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) served as a guideline.

This resulted in a study and a white paper. The study summarizes where we are today in terms of implementing the UN CRPD. The white paper outlines in four overarching recommendations and eight concrete proposals all that can and should be achieved in the next few years up to the WWG 2029 – if we work together on it.

You can download the study and the white paper here. (in German)

When is the event set to take place?

The World Winter Games in Switzerland are set to take place between 6 and 18 March 2029. This avoids the winter sports holiday periods of most Swiss cantons.

6th March 2029

Arrival of the delegations and transfer to Host Town

7th - 9th March 2029
Wednesday - Friday

Host Town Program

10th March 2029

Transport to opening ceremony

Opening ceremony

11th - 16th March 2029
Sunday - Friday

Visiting competition venues, spare day, divisioning, competition, medal ceremonies

17th - 18th March 2029
Saturday - Sunday

Transport to closing ceremony

Closing ceremony

Transport to airport/train station
Return of delegations

Participating nations

Regions Countries
Africa Burkina Faso, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda
Asia / Pacific Australia, Bangladesh, Bharat (India), Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nippon, Pakistan, Serendib (Sri Lanka), Singapore
Asia China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Korea, Macau, Mongolia
Europe/Eurasia Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, FYR Macedonia, Georgia Republic, Germany, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Hellas (Greece), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Re-public, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Monaco, Montene-gro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbeki-stan
Latin America Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela
Middle East Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pales-tine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates
North America Canada, Jamaica, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, USA

Who awards the World Games 2029

The international Board of Directors of Special Olympics has provisionally awarded the World Winter Games 2029 to Switzerland. The provisional award is still subject to a funding guarantee which is expected in September 2023, at which time a formal signing ceremony will take place.

Who is the organiser of the World Winter Games 2029?

Special Olympics Switzerland and the association SOSWI Graubünden founded the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the World Winter Games 2029 in mid-November 2022 in the form of an association based in Chur. Special Olympics National Director, Bruno Barth, was elected as the first president of the LOC. In 2023, the aim is to set up the organization in such a way that it can be operational from 2024.

Around the LOC, expert advisory boards will be formed on the topics of tourism, inclusion, sports, major events, sustainability, etc., which will contribute expertise, initiate and coordinate projects, but also ensure national networking,

How will the Games be funded?

The World Winter Games 2029 will cost 38 million Swiss francs – so around the same amount as the Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020. The funding concept is based on 75% of the total costs being borne by the Swiss Federal Government, the cantons of Graubunden and Zurich, the cities of Chur and Zurich, and the Arosa and Lenzerheide regions. Commercial activities will generate only modest revenue. Ticketing revenue is only possible at the opening ceremony as all competitions and other events will be freely accessible.

The municipalities of Arosa and Vaz-Obervaz, the city of Chur, the cantons of Graubünden and Zurich have already allocated the corresponding financial resources for the World Games Switzerland 2029. The city of Zurich is expected to decide on the contribution of 2.3 million on 21.12.2022. On Dec. 2, 2022, the Federal Council approved the Dispatch on Major Sports Events for the attention of the Federal Councils, which includes commitment credits of nearly 47 million Swiss francs to support major sports events for the years 2025-2029 – including the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2029 with a contribution of 9.5 million Swiss francs. With the decision of the parlament, which is expected in the summer of 2023, the financing under public law would be completed and the award would be definitive.

The candidacy dossier was drawn up by Special Olympics Switzerland and the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons in collaboration with the cities of Chur and Zurich, the cantons of Graubunden and Zurich and the municipalities of Arosa and Vaz/Obervaz. Together with the appropriate application, it was submitted to the public-sector partners on 30 July 2020. This marked the launch of the political processes relevant to the funding of the event. The assurances of funding must apply both for delivery in 2029 as well in 2033, in case Switzerland is not chosen as the host country for 2029. The political funding process is likely to last until mid-2022.