Screen Readers Skip to Content
🖶 Print page

Special Olympics Infomation - Games - Rules - Events

Updated/Revised Date: 2022-04-10
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Additional References: Special Olympics Publications

Synopsis: Information regarding Special Olympics games and sports for persons with a disability. The Special Olympics are the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. Special Olympics is a global nonprofit organization serving the nearly 200 million people with intellectual disabilities. Among their other activities, Special Olympics conducts the Special Olympics World Games every two years, alternating between Summer and Winter Games.

advertisements

Main Document

The Special Olympics are the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. Special Olympics competitions are held every day, all around the world including local, national and regional competitions, adding up to more than 70,000 events a year. Special Olympics is a global nonprofit organization serving the nearly 200 million people with intellectual disabilities. Among their other activities, Special Olympics conducts the Special Olympics World Games every two years, alternating between Summer and Winter Games.

The Special Olympics, founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1968, is composed of passionate, committed individuals from every walk of life, who recognize the value and unique gifts of people with intellectual disabilities, who together, share the common belief of dignity, equality, and opportunity for all people.

More than 2.5 million athletes of all ages are involved in Special Olympics sports training and competition in more than 180 countries. The Special Olympics is often the only place where children and adults with intellectual disabilities have an opportunity to participate in their communities and develop belief in themselves.

The organization offers year-round training and competition in 30 Olympic-type summer and winter sports. There are more than 72 Programs in Special Olympics North America. Special Olympics North America has 544,581 athletes participating in all 30 sports offered by Special Olympics.

The first International Special Olympics Games were held in Chicago in 1968. Anne McGlone Burke, a physical education teacher with the Chicago Park District, began with the idea for a one-time Olympic-style athletic competition for people with special needs. Burke then approached Eunice Kennedy Shriver, head of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, to fund the event. Shriver encouraged Burke to expand on the idea, and the JPK Foundation provided a grant of $25,000. More than 1,000 athletes from across the United States and Canada participated.

The first International Special Olympics Winter Games were held in February 1977 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, USA. In 1988, the Special Olympics was recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for the Summer 2018 N.H. Special Olympics rest on a display tray - (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White).
Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for the Summer 2018 N.H. Special Olympics rest on a display tray - (N.H. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White).

Special Olympic Games Dates

Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB) is the major provider of sporting opportunities for people with a learning disability and provides equality of opportunity for all athletes regardless of ability or degree of disability. International Board members include President of Iceland Olafur Grimmson; Olympic Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci; pop singer and actress Vanessa Williams; Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent; and First Lady of Panama Vivian Fernandez de Torrijos.

Types of Special Olympics Sports:

Special Olympics has more than 32 Olympic-type individual and team sports that provide meaningful training and competition opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. A few are listed below:

Special Olympics Sports List

  • Alpine Skiing
  • Aquatics
  • Athletics (Track and Field)
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Bocce
  • Bowling
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Cycling
  • Equestrian Sports
  • Figure Skating
  • Floor Hockey
  • Football (Soccer)
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Handball
  • Judo
  • Power lifting
  • Riding Horses
  • Sailing
  • Short-track Speed skating
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowshoeing
  • Softball
  • Table Tennis
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
Post to Twitter Add to Facebook

Subtopics and Associated Subjects


Latest Special Olympics Publications
Packabocce Portable Inflatable Bocce Courts for Special Olympics Florida thumbnail image.
Inflatable Packabocce courts feature a lightweight but highly durable design that makes them far more portable than traditional bocce courts made out of wood or stone.
Publish Date: 2018-04-09 - Updated: 2018-10-15

Inclusive Sports and Unified Teams can promote the human rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Publish Date: 2016-10-02

Special Olympics outlines results of successful two-year old Healthy Communities initiative and announces it will expand the program from 14 to 100 sites by 2025.
Publish Date: 2014-11-22
An Encounter with Carlsbad2 Special Olympians thumbnail image.
Trip to New Mexico to attend wedding results in chance meeting of Special Olympians Carlsbad2 who were in Farmington, New Mexico to participate in sporting events.
Publish Date: 2014-09-01 - Updated: 2021-11-13

Additional Special Olympics Publications

Disabled World is an independent disability community founded in 2004 to provide disability news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and/or carers. See our homepage for informative reviews, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can connect with us on social media such as Twitter and Facebook or learn more about Disabled World on our about us page.

Disabled World provides general information only. The materials presented are never meant to substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Financial support is derived from advertisements or referral programs, where indicated. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.


Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2022, April 10). Special Olympics Infomation - Games - Rules - Events. Disabled World. Retrieved January 30, 2023 from www.disabled-world.com/sports/special-olympics/

Permalink: <a href="https://www.disabled-world.com/sports/special-olympics/">Special Olympics Infomation - Games - Rules - Events</a>