Coca-Cola Co. has extended its sponsorship of the Special Olympics, which will include the 2007 event.

The soft drinks group said the worldwide sponsorship commitment, which covers the calendar years 2006 and 2007, includes support by Coca-Cola China for the 12th World Summer Games.

Coca-Cola became a founding partner of Special Olympics when the games were established in 1968. Coca-Cola is also the only sponsor supporting the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and Special Olympics World Games.

"The privilege of being associated with Special Olympics from its inception is reflected in our renewed sponsorship, which continues to represent the highest level of worldwide support possible," said Muhtar Kent, executive vice president, Coca-Cola Co., and president, Coca-Cola International.  

"Together, we will continue to actively explore new opportunities that take advantage of the reach and influence of both organizations around the globe."

Bruce Pasternack, president and CEO, Special Olympics, added: "China is a key to our movement's future, and it is extremely gratifying that Coca-Cola China and its employees have embraced the 2007 World Summer Games in Shanghai.

"We have every confidence that their enthusiasm and commitment will make this global sports event a huge success."