22 July 2022
Miss Universe Australia Daria Varlamova has been named the newest Special Olympics Australia Ambassador, joining the frontline of advocacy for inclusion of children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The announcement was made at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as part of Special Olympics global celebration of Champions of Inclusion. Photo gallery from the announcement can be viewed here.
"Ever since I was a teenager, I knew I had to be involved in the disability space,” said Ms Varlamova.
“From a young age I was made aware that there are people who didn’t get to enjoy all the privileges that I did growing up. As a child, I had a young neighbour who had a profound physical disability which meant that he couldn’t run and play outside with the rest of the children. I remember thinking how unfair that was, and that in turn gave me a sense of responsibility to be a voice for inclusion, acceptance, and equal opportunity.
“When I was living in Perth, Western Australia I had the opportunity to work in the disability sector. Every individual who I helped support would teach me something very poignant that would shape the person I am today.
“I believe that my work in the disability sector has led me on the path to being crowned Miss Universe Australia, and I am now motivated to use my position to be a change-maker for disability in Australia.
“My mission as a Special Olympics Australia Ambassador and Champion of Inclusion, is to do my part in ensuring that the next generation of children and adults with disabilities can grow up and thrive in a country where they are included and valued.
“I stand by Special Olympics’ vision to create a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people, and I urge everyone to pledge to be a Champion of Inclusion and lead the change for respecting and embracing all differences and abilities.
“I’m so excited to be part of the Special Olympics community as an Ambassador,” Ms Varlamova concluded.
Pierre Comis, Special Olympics Australia Chief Executive Officer, was proud to welcome Daria as an Ambassador.
“Special Olympics athletes can take inspiration from Daria and her achievements. Daria is a role model who shares in our belief of breaking down barriers and fostering a community of inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities through sport,” Pierre concluded.
The announcement coincided with Daria joining a group of Special Olympics Australia athletes at the MCG to turn the iconic venue red in celebration of the Global Week of Inclusion.
Sally Macindoe, Chair of the MCC Foundation, said; “The MCC Foundation has partnered with Special Olympics Australia since 2019 and we are delighted to once again help shine a light, both literally and figuratively, on the importance of inclusion.”
Daria Varlamova is the 2021 Miss Universe Australia, was one of Yahoo Finance's Top 21 Health and Wellness Influencers for 2021 and holds a Bachelor of Commerce. Ms Varlamova’s inaugural two-year term as Ambassador begins in July 2022.
Special Olympics Australia strives to ensure that everyone living with an intellectual disability can participate in sport. We provide: