The 10-day 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games ended in Shanghai Oct. 11, 2007.   SHANGHAI, Oct. 12 - The 10-day 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games ended here on Thursday after leaving behind a string of superlatives - grandest opening, most delegations, widest media coverage and greatest impact.  

The games, which feature in 21 medal sports and four demonstrating events, attracted 7,450 athletes from 164 countries and regions, a record in the 39-year history of the games.  

Some 20,000 delegation officials, coaches, celebrities and family members of the Special Olympics athletes also came to Shanghai while more than 40,000 volunteers, most of them students from China and overseas as well, served the games and the intellectual disabled athletes with passion and love.  

To ensure that the Special Olympics athletes were well looked after - and more importantly accepted, China poured in nearly 60 million yuan (about 8 million U.S. dollars) as a financial backup to ensure the event going smoothly.  

The merits were even more than the expectation of the organizers: the opening ceremony was a great success; the games went smoothly with no complaints, the attitude towards mentally disabled people changed in China and the awareness of Special Olympics greatly promoted.  

"Shanghai residents have become more concerned with the intellectual disabled people because of the Special Olympics, and the city has become more warm-hearted," taxi driver Zhang Weiyu said.  

A survey has shown 92 percent of Shanghai residents are aware of the Games.  

The Special Olympics may have been a watershed moment for China's mentally disabled, but perhaps a breakthrough came a few years earlier.  

In the past five years, the Special Olympics movement enjoyed a rapid progress in China as the Chinese Special Olympics athletes boomed from 50, 000 to more than 620,000, and the figure will further grow to one million by the year 2010.  

While Wang Zhijun, chairman of Special Olympics China, described it as "an arduous and progressive process" to build the Special Olympics movement in China, officials from the Special Olympics International (SOI) spilt their praise to Shanghai and China.  

Dicken Yung, president of SOI east Asian region, praised China's efforts of hosting the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games, saying " Shanghai has set an example for world Special Olympics movement".  

SOI Chairman Timothy Shriver lauded the games in Shanghai as "exceptional" while Californian governor and former Hollywood super star Arnold Schwarzenegger predicted that Special Olympics movement would witness even faster development in China after the Shanghai games.  

In conjunction with the games, a series of activities were held, including the "Global Summit for Health and Welfare of People with Intellectual Disabilities", "Global Youth Summit" attended by both intellectually disabled youths and regular youths and "Healthy Athletes" which gave athletes free health screening and medical checkup.  

The Special Olympics World Summer Games are held every four years. The next edition will be hosted by Athens, Greece in 2011.