Natalia Vodianova, Russian model and known philanthropist, was on hand to help open the 2014 Special Olympics on Saturday, being held this year in Belgium.A committed supporter of the Special Olympics, the world's largest sports organisation for people with intellectual disabilities, Natalia met with many of the Russian athletes competing in this year's event, following the ceremony.
Speaking exclusively to HELLO!, Natalia said: "It’s a great pleasure and a big honour to be at the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Special Olympics European Summer Games."
I admire the work done by Special Olympics, an organisation that shares many of the same values and goals as my own charity - the Naked Heart Foundation."The Naked Heart Foundation was founded in 2004 by 32-year-old Natalia, and is a philanthropic organisation that strives to create free support services for families bringing up children with special needs and provide a safe and inspiring environment in which to play for every child living in urban Russia.
She continued: "When I met the athletes from the Russian Special Olympics team tonight it was moving to see how much it means to them to be able to be part of the Games."
She added: "I felt proud with them as they told me stories of their achievements. I feel very thankful to Special Olympics for giving them the opportunity to reveal their talents and abilities through sport."Prior to the ceremony,
Natalia joined Tim Shriver, President John F. Kennedy's nephew, and former international Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge
, for a welcome lunch, where the three posed for pictures, before attending the ceremony where they were joined by
The blonde beauty is mother to four children, after giving birth to a baby boy in May and had modelled for Givenchy, Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Versace, and Chanel.
This year's game involve 2,000 athletes from 58 countries competing in 10 sports. The games takes place between 13 September - 20 September.