Messina to help Special Olympics athletes

July 5, 2007 at 10:41 PM

NASHVILLE, July 5 (UPI) -- Country superstar Jo Dee Messina says she wants to help prepare athletes for the 2007 Special Olympic World Summer Games in Shanghai.

Messina, who has been an ambassador for the Special Olympics for three years, said in a statement Thursday she jumped at the chance to help the athletes at the Team USA Training Camp at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

The singer will start out July 12 by giving a concert for the 580 athletes, coaches and volunteers involved in the training camp -- where team-building activities are encouraged and the basics of Chinese culture taught.

Three days later, along with her band and crew, Messina will take part in the Special Olympics All-Star Softball Game at Hawkins Field against some of the Special Olympics athletes.

Following the game, Messina will be a model in a fashion show presenting the clothing the athletes will wear throughout their trip to Shanghai this October.

"These are athletes that always put their heart into sports. To see the games is to see true sportsmanship in its purest form. Doing their best is what these athletes strive for," Messina said.

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