What is Special Olympics?
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Through year-round sports training and athletic competition and other related programming for more than 2.5 million children and adults with intellectual disabilities in more than 180 countries, Special Olympics has created a model community that celebrates people’s diverse gifts. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and based on the research of Canada’s Dr. Frank Hayden, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship.
Special Olympics Ontario London began in 1986 and has become known nationally for its innovative programs.
How many athletes participate in Special Olympics?
Special Olympics serves nearly 3.7 million persons with intellectual disabilities in more than 229 Programs in more than 170 countries.
Special Olympics Ontario London serves 400 individuals with intellectual disabilities. They are supported by over 200 volunteers.
What is the Special Olympics Athlete Oath?
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
What is Special Olympics' mission?
Special Olympics Ontario London is dedicated to enriching the lives of Individuals with an intellectual disability through sport.
What impact does Special Olympics have on athletes?
Children and adults with intellectual disabilities who participate in Special Olympics develop improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self-confidence and a more positive self-image. They grow mentally, socially and spiritually and, through their activities, exhibit boundless courage and enthusiasm, enjoy the rewards of friendship and ultimately discover not only new abilities and talents but "their voices" as well.
Who is eligible to participate in Special Olympics?
Special Olympics is open to adults and children with an intellectual disability.
Is there a difference between Special Olympics and Paralympics?
Yes, Special Olympics and the Paralympics are two separate and distinct organizations with specific eligibility requirements. Paralympics is only for elite disabled athletes. Special Olympics and Paralympics are both part of the Olympic family and hold summer and winter global events (with Special Olympics always the year before the Olympic Games); both do divisioning by ability, age and gender to create a fair playing field.