CULTURE

Natasa Karamanli makes a special visit to Rome

On the occasion of the 2006 Special Olympics European Youth Games, which were held in Rome from September 28 to October 6, Natasa Karamanli, wife of the Greek prime minister, visited the Italian capital to encourage the 37-member Greek contingent. She attended the opening ceremony where participants from 57 countries paraded in an atmosphere of happiness and expectation of competition and comradeship. The Greek team competed in swimming, athletics and basketball. The high point of the ceremony came when the Light of Hope and Culture entered the Stadio dei Marmi. It had been lit in Patras, the 2006 Cultural Capital of Europe, in the presence of Karamanli and Special Olympics Hellas President Joan Despotopoulou. Dressed in the uniform of the volunteers, the two women went to the Aula Magna Sportivo sports ground where they spoke to the Greek athletes and their coaches. They sat in the stands, waving a Greek flag to spur on the contestants. «Competing is a victory too,» said Special Olympics International Chairman Timothy Parker Shriver, son of the organization’s founder, Eunice Kennedy-Shriver, who is the sister of Robert and John F. Kennedy. Shriver resembles his uncles, not only in looks but also as an orator. Some see him as a future president of the USA after Hillary Rodham Clinton. Karamanli met him at a reception that the president and organizing committee gave after the opening ceremony. Dressed in white, Karamanli, who is now a surgeon, and the mother of twins, was warm and friendly to the Greek children who joined her for a photograph.