EAGLE, Idaho, February 13, 2009 - The worldwide recognition of Idaho® potatoes was apparent as participants of the Special Olympics World Winter Games descended upon Idaho this past week. As the IPC's mascot Spuddy Buddy greeted athletes from nearly 100 countries in his official cobalt blue World Games jersey, the universal response was clear, "Idaho® potatoes are the best in the World!"
The athletes and their families visiting the Special Olympics Town at Boise Center immediately recognized Spuddy and embraced the opportunity to meet Idaho's famous spud. As a sponsor of the Games, the IPC showed its support during the weeklong event by providing nutritious Idaho® potato dishes and memorabilia specially branded for the Games.
"The Idaho Potato Commission was proud to support the Special Olympics World Winter Games," said Frank Muir, President/CEO, IPC, "and provide potatoes to fuel the athletes throughout the sporting events."
For the games, the IPC's mascot Spuddy Buddy hung up his red jersey for a new, limited edition, cobalt blue Special Olympics jersey. More than 6,000 special edition, plush mini Spuddy Buddies were included in the athletes' welcome bags, and Spuddy, himself, made daily appearances at the Special Olympics Town. The IPC also donated more than 5,800 Idaho® potato pins, custom made for the World Winter Games, for athletes to trade throughout the week and treasure through their Olympic career.
With competition forefront on the athletes' minds, the IPC ensured they would be energized throughout the week with nutritious Idaho® potato dishes. The IPC provided more than 8,400 Idaho® potatoes for the Law Enforcement Torch Run® Reception, February 6; the Healthy Athletes® Reception, February 7; and the Family Dinner Reception, February 13.
To close out the Games, Muir was invited to present medals to floor hockey teams during the final awards presentation Friday, February 13.
"It was an honor to be part of this awards ceremony," said Muir, "a moment for which these athletes train so hard. It is humbling to be part of this international event that supports the special talents of these athletes."
About the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games
The 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games will be held in Idaho, USA, 7-13 February 2009 and nearly 2,500 athletes from nearly 100 countries are expected to compete. Surpassing the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games in athlete numbers and participating nations, the World Winter Games will be the largest multi-day winter sporting event ever held in Idaho. Competition will take place in seven winter sports - Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing, Figure Skating, Floor Hockey, Snowboarding, Snowshoeing and Speed Skating. Competition and other activities will take place in communities and venues throughout Idaho including but not limited to Boise, Sun Valley and McCall. For more information, visit www.2009WorldGames.org.
About the Idaho Potato Commission
The Idaho Potato Commission is a state agency that is primarily responsible for expanding the markets for Idaho grown potatoes through advertising, promotion and research. The Commission also protects the use of the "Idaho® potato" and "Grown in Idaho®" seals, which are federally registered Certification Marks that belong to the IPC. These Marks ensure that consumers are purchasing potatoes that have been grown in the state of Idaho.