On Sunday 27th May 2012, Coca-Cola provided ten Special Olympics athletes from across Great Britain the opportunity to take part in the official London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay. The athletes were nominated as Olympic Torchbearers through Coca-Cola’s Future Flames campaign, which is shining a spotlight on inspirational and outstanding individuals. The Coca-Cola Company has been a founding partner of Special Olympics since 1968.
Included in the ten was Special Olympics GB Judo Star Alexander Ferrier, 16, of Glasgow, who commented, "I've always wanted to be a celebrity - it felt fantastic!"
Alex competes in Judo Level One. He loves his sport and trains 6 times a week. Alex was thrilled to bring home a Silver medal from Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens - 2011's largest sporting event in the world with 180 countries and 7000 athletes. He was the youngest member in his group.
Since returning home, Alex won Bronze at the British Special Needs Open and then tookGoldat the Dutch Special Needs Judo Open competing as part of the British Judo Squad. Alexander is proud to have 2 Silver medals in Judo won at Special Olympics National Summer Games in Leicester in 2009 and has his eye on the National Games in Bath in 2013. He has competed all over the UK and Europe with several trips a year to Holland. He is a member of the Senior British Special Needs Judo Squad and competes internationally with them. He is part of the Scottish Judo Development Squad and regularly trains at Ratho the home of Scottish Judo. In 2010 Alexander was awarded Young Sports Player of Year by West Dumbartonshire Sports Council.
The Special Olympics athletes all set off as a group from Haverfordwest and completed a section of the leg that finished in Aberystwyth, Wales. The leg was on day eight of the 70-day Relay building up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The athletes received fantastic support from the thousands of local residents cheering them on as well as their family and friends who had travelled around the country to be there.
Thanks to Coca-Cola, the ten Special Olympics athletes were chosen in recognition of the passion that they demonstrate every day for sport and their achievements at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games which took place in Athens.
Across the country there are scores of other Special Olympics athletes and coaches that have been nominated to be Torchbearers in their own communities, and others who have been chosen to be Gamesmakers at the Olympic Games.
Karen Wallin, CEO Special Olympics Great Britain, added: “It’s great that our Special Olympics GB athletes were able to join the excitement this summer and carry the Olympic Flame!"