What is Special Olympics?

Special Olympics is an global organisation that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition to more than 2.25 million children and adults with learning disabilities in more than 160 countries. Founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of the late President John F Kennedy, in 1968 Special Olympics provides people with learning disabilities opportunities to realise their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship.

How many people does Special Olympics serve globally/in Great Britain?

 Special Olympics serves more than 2.25 million people with an learning disabilities in more than 160 countries. In Great Britain the programme currently serves over 8000 annually. There are an estimated 1.2 million people with learning disabilities in Great Britain.

How is Special Olympics Great Britain funded?

 Special Olympics Great Britain is a registered charity and is generously supported annually by individual and corporate donations and currently receives no government funding. Our Premier Partners include The Coca-Cola Youth Foundation, ABB, SAS, Dominos Pizza

 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?

 To provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with learning disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

What impact does Special Olympics have on athletes?

 Children and adults with learning 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?

 To be eligible to participate in Special Olympics, you must be at least 8 years old and identified by an agency or professional as having one of the following conditions: learning disabilities, cognitive delays as measured by formal assessment, or significant learning or vocational problems due to cognitive delay that require or have required specially designed instruction.

 However, persons whose functional limitations are based solely on a physical, behavioural, or emotional disability, or a specific learning or sensory disability, are not eligible to participate as Special Olympics athletes, but may be eligible to volunteer for Special Olympics as partners in Unified Sports® if they otherwise meet the separate eligibility requirements for participation in Unified Sports set forth in the Sports Rules.

Can individuals with profound disabilities participate in Special Olympics?

 Yes, through Special Olympics’ Motor Activities Training Program (MATP), developed by physical educators, physical therapists and recreation therapists. MATP emphasizes training and participation rather than competition.

Where do I find information about Special Olympics Sports Rules and Coaching Guides?

 Please visit our website http://specialolympics.org/ourcoaches

When are Special Olympics World Games held?

 The Special Olympics World Summer Games are held every four years;  The Special Olympics World Winter Games are also held every four years.

 Is Special Olympics part of the Olympic movement?

 In 1988, Special Olympics was recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the third member of the Olympic family. It is the only sports organisation authorised by the IOC to use the word ‘Olympics’ in its title.