Help us make a difference!

Make Your Year-End Gift by Dec. 31st - your donation will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, and change more lives.

Special Olympics Stories

Stories from around the world

November 18, 2013

Confidence in Sports and Life

“I feel stronger. I can run faster. I can do it on my own and I never give up.” This is what Special Olympics athlete Molly Hincka will tell you is the secret to her confidence, her training and joy of running.

read more ››
June 28, 2012

Carrying on the Olympic Spirit

More than 60 Special Olympics athletes and coaches were named official Olympic Torchbearers in the runup to the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games. Nominations were made based on each person’s ability to inspire others. Plus, they had to be able to run! 

read more ››
June 28, 2012

The end of the R word in Israel

Following years of lobbying by Special Olympics Israel the use of the R word has ended

read more ››
June 07, 2012

Hear the World Foundation provides free hearing aids for Special Olympics Athletes

Hear the World Foundation provides free hearing aids for Special Olympics Athletes at the SO Germany National Summer Games in Munich.

read more ››
June 07, 2012

Sarah Boyne is a Real Leader!

Special Olympics Ireland athlete Sarah Boyne is going for Gold as part of the Athlete Leadership Program. Read Sarah's story!

read more ››
May 29, 2012

A Mom and Daughter Fitness Team

Mary and Emily Belk of Georgia took part in the pilot of the Special Olympics Get Fit for Life program, part of the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) challenge in the United States.

read more ››
May 26, 2012

Follow your dreams

Dominicks has discovered his passion, horsemanship, a sport that has developed determination and courage to continue to follow his dreams.

read more ››
April 26, 2012

A special Army salute for a Special Olympics athlete

Four and half years ago Gilad Rosedial, a Special Olympic athlete, joined the Israeli army as a volunteer as part of a special project involving AKIM Israel.

read more ››
April 25, 2012

Aiming High

MacKenzie MacDonald has faced many challenges growing up. She and her parents found ways to overcome -- and Special Olympics was a big part of that. It still is.

read more ››
April 17, 2012

The Opening Ceremony of the Central American Games kicked of with a spectacular artistic performance.

The second Special Olympics Central American and Caribbean Games are dedicated to the spirit of sports, effort and courage of the athletes. They show us the passion of sports.

read more ››
March 21, 2012

David Egan: Finding His Voice

David Egan has always dreamed big. When he was a youngster, starting out as a Special Olympics swimmer, he dreamed of winning his races. As he grew, he looked to bigger goals –having a job and finding ways to change attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities.

read more ››
March 21, 2012

United in Basketball

Special Olympics Unified Sports® is a powerful force – and it’s been getting lots of attention lately: from an insightful feature in The New York Times to a brand new spotlight during the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend.

read more ››
March 21, 2012

Fly Your Hope with Apolo Ohno

Decorated Olympic gold medalist and Special Olympics Celebrity Supporter Apolo Ohno reflects on his trip to Japan and China on behalf of Special Olympics.

read more ››
December 14, 2011

Unified Sports, A Lifetime Experience

Carlos Alberto Quintero Russo of Venezuel took part in the recent Copa America in Paraguay. That competition featured "Unified" teams of people with and without intellectual disabilites competing on the football field. Russa was appointed the best player of the tournament, and he offered these comments about his experience.

read more ››
November 08, 2011

Scoring on Her First Try – Special Olympics Thailand’s Rattanaporn Thamsiwaphat

The 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games capped a series of firsts for striker Rattanaporn Thamsiwaphat, on and off the football pitch.

read more ››
November 04, 2011

A Basketball Legend

In the world of basketball he is a legend.  John Moreau refereed at countless NCAA tournaments and Olympic trials.  He has been on the court with basketball super-stars like Michael Jordan, David Thompson, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson. Coach Jimmy Valvano affectionately called Moreau “Papa John.”

read more ››
October 22, 2011

Fists Held High In Joy

The convivial atmosphere of the World Games was a catalyst for Mio Osato to blossom, and gave her father a new dream.

read more ››
October 22, 2011

Voices that Impact a Movement

One athlete called attending the Global Athlete Congress the adventure of his life. Others spoke of the responsibilities that come with being delegates to the first such meeting in five years, held June 6-9 in Marrakech, Morocco.  Now they can all look back on what was accomplished – which was a lot.

read more ››
October 22, 2011

Meet Mario

At the end of February, our newest public service announcement "Skeleton" was launched as a part of our ongoing 'Be A Fan' campaign. The basketball-themed PSA encourages viewers to get past first impressions and see Special Olympics athletes for what they are: athletes.

read more ››
September 14, 2011

You may not change the world, but you can change someone’s world

Over 70 members of the Procter & Gamble (P&G) ASEAN team spent a games afternoon with athletes from Special Olympics Singapore on September 7, interacting through bocce, soccer, field hockey, basketball and badminton.

read more ››
August 31, 2011

Rolling with Finesse: Sunita Suryavanshi

Rolling along to a Gold medal, Sunita Suryavanshi was part of the 24-strong roller skating team from India competing in Athens, Greece, at the World Summer Games. Four years of training paid dividends in a Gold medal finish in the 2X200M Relay, and a fourth place in the individual 100M and 300M Race.

read more ››
August 31, 2011

View from the Top

Special Olympics celebrates Singapore athlete Salihin bin Sinai’s ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro.

read more ››
August 23, 2011

Special Olympics' New Global Ambassador Leads By Example

His is a tale that appeals to many people -- the story of a physically awkward kid who struggled with learning and behavior problems; but overcame them all to become one of the greatest swimmers of all time. But for Special Olympics athletes, the Michael Phelps story has an added meaning: he's living proof that determination can lead to skill and that skill can lead to triumph.

read more ››
August 10, 2011

A New Experience

Ms Milanie Shi, a Procter & Gamble staff member who participated in the Activity Day with Special Olympics Singapore, recounts her day of activity with Special Olympics athletes.

read more ››
July 01, 2011

A Swimmer's Quest to Defy Expectations

Melissa, a 28-year-old swimmer from the Matanuska Valley in Alaska, has spent much of 2011 training toward her goal of getting “all golds” at her first World Games. A swimmer from Alaska may seem a bit unusual, but Melissa makes a habit of defying expectations.

read more ››
July 01, 2011

Anca's Winning Shot

Anca Chirita’s journey to the Special Olympics World Games was a long one. The 20-year-old Romanian bocce player was abandoned to an institution at the age of three, and was shifted among various institutions every couple of years after that.

read more ››
June 30, 2011

Love for Football Ties Us All Together!

Brazilians legends Romario and Zico, two of the World's most loved football heroes, are the latest to be tied together with the Special Olympics movement and millions of athletes around the world.

read more ››
June 24, 2011

2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games Opening Ceremony Speech

Tim Shriver Opens the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athns.

read more ››
June 01, 2011

Soaring to Glory: Meet Brady Tanner

Brady Tanner has countless medals to his name and has been competing in a variety of Special Olympics sports for over two decades. But powerlifting is where Brady really excels and he is heading to the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens to represent Team USA. But his road to glory was not an easy one.

read more ››
May 31, 2011

Brother-Sister Youth Partners

Sarah and Ben are not just siblings, they’re a team. In June, they head to the Global Youth Activation Summit in Athens from Colorado, where they lead Project Unify® at their school and are working to expand youth involvement in Special Olympics Colorado.

read more ››
May 19, 2011

Eyes on the Prize

Karen Dickerson says she's most at home when her running shoes are pounding the pavement. Six days a week, several miles a day, all year long.  She's always trying to improve -- her time, her form, her endurance.

read more ››
May 18, 2011

Special Olympics is My Life

Even before he got involved with Special Olympics, Ted realized the importance of participating in sports and he was there to help and encourage the athletes.

read more ››
May 12, 2011

Coming into Focus

Special Olympics has helped Emilda Soriano gain focus, build strength and develop confidence. Now, Emilda is applying these valuable skills in her daily life.

read more ››
April 21, 2011

School Organizes “Drills on Wheels” Service Project

Students from John F. Kennedy High School in Cleveland, Ohio, organized “Drills on Wheels,” an event and awareness campaign for Special Olympics.

read more ››
April 21, 2011

Royal Fan

The joy of Special Olympics attracts fans from all walks of life, including some household names. World class athletes like Michael Phelps and Nadia Comaneci and entertainers like Vanessa Williams and Joe Jonas support the Special Olympics vision that sports can pave the way for acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. We also have a few royal fans.

read more ››
April 20, 2011

A World of Opportunities

Doctors said Lani is “never going to achieve anything.”  She defies their low expectations every day. She is a graceful gymnast and leads by example, mentoring other athletes.

read more ››
April 01, 2011

Joshua's Journey of Discovery

Joshua Powell is on an exciting journey of discovery. A recent arrival in China, Powell grew up in Colorado where he got involved with sports as a Special Olympics athlete at the age of 7. He's now learning Chinese and helping younger people in China with intellectual disabilities. He wrote this narrative of his adventure so far.

read more ››
March 23, 2011

Fierce Competitor

Kayla McKeon has been in Special Olympics for a decade, and it has helped her build strength, make friends, learn responsibility and develop confidence. Now, Kayla applies these skills in her daily life and in college.

read more ››
March 23, 2011

Hometown Champions

Meet Melissa, Scott, and Christopher – their stories are testaments to the power of sport.

read more ››
March 09, 2011

In Memory: Jimmy Carnes

It is my sad duty to report to you that the Special Olympics movement lost one of its most loyal and dedicated volunteers this week, Jimmy Carnes. Jimmy died on Saturday March 5 after a long battle with cancer. His wonderful wife, Nanette, and many of his 14 children, grandchildren, step grandchildren and great grandchildren were at his side. He was 76 years young.

read more ››
February 16, 2011

Future Full of Hope

At birth, Deon Namiseb was all but discarded but Special Olympics gave him a chance and hope. Today Deon is an accomplished athlete and a role model.

read more ››
February 16, 2011

Runs in the Family

For John and Lisa Aronson, Special Olympics has been a constant.  Both avid athletes, they got involved at an early age and met while volunteering.  Even after starting a family, they still make time to organize state tournaments and volunteer at the Games-- bringing their three-year-old twins along to cheer.

read more ››
January 18, 2011

A Family Affair, the Keiths

Kathy and Doug Keith were warned that their son Jimmy, diagnosed with Down syndrome, may not have the same physical abilities as his twin sister. Keiths were determined that Jimmy would have opportunities to play sports. Today, the entire family is involved, cheering at events, playing sports, raising funds to support athletes like their son, coaching, and even starting a basketball program

read more ››
December 07, 2010

Making Their Dreams Come True

Special Olympics and sports training has given Lin a life we only dreamed she could have.

read more ››
November 20, 2010

"Hooked" on Special Olympics

Social"Hooked" on Special OlympicsJay Glicksman’s tenure as a Special Olympics volunteer and coach spans two decades.  He is also a loyal donor to the organization.  Through his involvement and support, Jay has transformed the lives of many athletes, yet he

read more ››
November 19, 2010

Project UNIFY® Youth Leaders join the National School Climate Council

The National School Climate Center announced additional members, for a total of 37, to the National School Climate Council.  The Council represents critical education stakeholders and advances a national campaign focused on school climate policy, practice and research.

read more ››
November 16, 2010

The Power of Persistence

To get where he is today, Special Olympics power lifter David Hill has moved mountains – or at least his mom thinks so. 

read more ››
October 22, 2010

Colorado Youth Committee Hits the Ground Running

On September 26, 2010, Denver Broncos Linebacker #92, Elvis Dumervil generously provided Special Olympics Colorado with the opportunity of a lifetime inviting 14 SOCO student Athletes and Unified Sports® Partners to attend the Broncos vs. Colts game at INVESCO Field.

read more ››
October 20, 2010

Celebrating my Brother

Jenni Newbury has seen firsthand the transformative power of Special Olympics. Having recently joined the staff, Jenni told us about her brother’s involvement and how she strives to create new ways for Jason to be included.  We wanted to share their story with you.

read more ››
October 20, 2010

Sportsmanship, On the Playing Fields and Off

Three Special Olympics athletes from the Serbian town of Cacak received an award for their sporting achievements.  In an act of generosity and sportsmanship, they decided to help out their hometown team with a contribution.

read more ››
October 01, 2010

Donated Nike Sneakers Invaluable to Athlete with Land Mine Injury

When she first stood up in new athletic shoes provided at a health screening in Warsaw, Poland, Jennet Sopyeue smiled broadly and gave Fit Feet Clinical Director Carine Haemels two enthusiastic thumbs up. No wonder.

read more ››
September 23, 2010

Rosa's Law

A journey that began as one Maryland family’s battle for respect and acceptance for their daughter and sister, Rosa, became a significant milestone in the ongoing battle for dignity, inclusion and respect of all people with intellectual disabilities when United States President Barack Obama signed bill S.2781 into federal law on October 5, 2010.

read more ››
September 18, 2010

Agreement to Boost Coaching Skills

An agreement that will raise the profile of Special Olympics in the international sports community and also lead to a stronger coaching program with improved coaching guides was set into place last month in Europe.

read more ››
September 16, 2010

Special Olympics Missouri Kicks Off Year 3 of Project UNIFY®

On September 8-9, Special Olympics Missouri Field Staff from across the state gathered at Tan-Tar-A resort to kick off Year 3 of Project UNIFY®.

read more ››
August 17, 2010

Special Olympics Helps Athlete Lose 150 lbs to Win Gold

Special Olympics rhythmic gymnast Sara Abbott is accustomed to beating the odds. When she was an infant, doctors said she would never walk or talk; she was not supposed to live past the age of 30; and three years ago, she weighed well over 300 pounds.

read more ››
August 11, 2010

Special Olympics Mourns Loss of Long-time Leader

The entire Special Olympics family is saddened by the great loss of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, who championed the efforts of Special Olympics throughout his life.

read more ››
August 01, 2010

New Initiative Puts Health Information “On the Field”

In the traditional Healthy Athletes model, athletes must come to a Health Promotion screening venue to receive information on sun safety, but a new model, tested during the 2010 USA National Games, took the information directly to the athletes.

read more ››
July 22, 2010

Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011

As we are one year out until the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, we eagerly anticipate what will be the world’s largest sporting event in 2011.

read more ››
July 09, 2010

Unity Cup Marks Start Of A Journey

The first-ever Special Olympics Unity Cup presented by Coca-Cola marks the beginning of a great journey between Special Olympics and long-time global partner, Coca-Cola.

read more ››
July 01, 2010

Screenings Benefit all Athletes, not Just Those with Severe Health Concerns

Stories from Healthy Athletes often focus on the athletes with the most dramatic health issues, but for thousands of athletes every year, Healthy Athletes is about making healthier choices and addressing non-critical, but chronic and important, health concerns. Jacob Suarez from Texas is one such athlete.

read more ››
July 01, 2010

Partnership with Federal Dental Organization Bolsters Special Smiles Germany

During the Opening Ceremony of the National Summer Games in Bremen June 14, the German Dental Association (BZAEK) and Special Smiles announced a declaration of cooperation and support.

read more ››
June 21, 2010

Endurance Racer Makes the World Games a Reality for Singapore Athletes

At first, Michael Dee’s goal was merely to conquer Chile’s brutal Atacama Desert, as part of a nearly week-long endurance race across one of the harshest environments on Earth. At about 10,000 feet high, the Atacama is where NASA scientists go to study terrain that most resembles the dry, desolate Martian landscape. It's also where this 53-year-old native of Buffalo, NY, took up a unique challenge as part of the 4Deserts Ultramarathon, known as one of the most punishing endurance races on the planet. The Singapore-based businessman hoped to raise enough money to send all of Singapore's Special Olympics athletes to the 2011 World Summer Games in Athens.

read more ››
June 21, 2010

Millett to Represent USA at "Special Olympics Unity Cup"

One of the 16 Special Olympics athletes selected for the first-ever, Special Olympics Unity Cup Presented by Coca-Cola is Matthew Millett from South Grafton, Massachusetts, who will be representing the United States.

read more ››
June 21, 2010

Special Olympics Haiti Rebuilds Through Camp Shriver

In an effort to rebuild a strong and robust Special Olympics Haiti, Camp Shriver is slated to launch in five cities across the country, starting July 5. The sports day camps for people with intellectual disabilities--named after the founder of Special Olympics, the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver--will run for four weeks in Petionville, Carrefour, Jacmel, Les Cayes and Cape Haitian.

read more ››
June 01, 2010

Nike to Provide 2000 Pairs of Shoes at European Games

Thanks to the generosity of one the world’s most recognized footwear manufacturer, athletes who attend the Healthy Athletes Fit Feet screening as part of Special Olympics in Warsaw, Poland in September will receive free sneakers.

read more ››
June 01, 2010

Arizona Athletes Take Dramatic Step to Better Health

After taking part in Special Olympics Arizona’s 10-week Steps to Better Health pilot program, 78% of athletes reduced waist circumference; 56% decreased Body Mass Index; 47% decreased body fat percentage; and 50% decreased systolic blood pressure. These impressive results surprised even the program organizer, Health Promotion Clinical Director David Paz.

read more ››
May 25, 2010

Special Olympics Supports Student's Legal Battle

In December, A U.S. District Court judge in Michigan ruled that Oakland University had discriminated against Micah Fialka-Feldman, a student with an intellectual disability, when officials decided he could not live in on-campus housing.

read more ››
May 17, 2010

The Dream Team

Sport: South Carolina Unified Soccer Team; “The Dream Team”
Delegation: South Carolina
Achievement: Earned a bronze medal while competing in the highest unified division of the 2009 SC State Fall Games.

read more ››
May 17, 2010

Special Olympics Bahamas Signs Historic Agreement

Last month, during the Annual Caribbean Business Meeting in the Bahamas, the Board of Directors of Special Olympics Caribbean and North America met in Nassau for strategic planning around the region over the next 5 years.

read more ››
May 17, 2010

Special Olympics Announces Newest Global Ambassador

On Wednesday, May 5th the newest Global Ambassador was welcomed to the Special Olympics family – professional golfer Padraig Harrington.

read more ››
May 01, 2010

MedFest Data Shows Three Percent of SO Athletes May Have Serious Heart Defects

On April 15, Katherine Scholtz from Kentucky underwent surgery to repair two holes in her heart. Despite being a Special Olympics athlete since age 8 (she is now 31), her heart defects had never been discovered.

read more ››
April 01, 2010

Healthy Athletes Overcomes Political Violence, Looting in Côte d’Ivoire

On February 18, Special Olympics Côte d’Ivoire’s National Director Claude Tano reached the volatile city of Bouaké ahead of the team of Healthy Athletes Clinical Directors. The air was tense and the screening venue lay quiet and empty.

read more ››
April 01, 2010

Triage Pilot Examines New Way to Conduct Healthy Athletes

When athletes come to Healthy Athletes, they often first go to the discipline venue that is most convenient, that their friends are visiting, or offers the most interesting give-away item.

read more ››
March 18, 2010

The Heros of Juarez

Last month, the island of Puerto Rico hosted an historic event for the Special Olympics movement – the 2010 Special Olympics Latin America Regional Games. Uniting more than 1,000 athletes from 33 nations through Latin America and the Caribbean, these Games marketed the beginning of a legacy for the region.

read more ››
March 18, 2010

Thousands Make Their Pledge for 'Respect'

March 3, 2010 marked the second annual day of awareness for “Spread the Word to End the Word.” With more than 20,000 pledges on March 3 at www.r-word.org a major goal of the campaign was surpassed - 100,000 total pledges.

read more ››
February 01, 2010

Athlete’s Low Bone Density Managed, Thanks to Detection at Healthy Athletes

Special Olympics Athlete Jeremy Valade from Michigan has been to Healthy Athletes several times, gotten eye and dental exams, and received a mouth guard and sports goggles at Healthy Athletes, but it was his visit during the U.S. National Games in Iowa in 2006 that changed his life.

read more ››
January 27, 2010

Social Media Celebrating Special Olympics Athletes

When Special Olympics Cayman Islands athlete Andrew Smilley was voted to have achieved the Greatest Open Water Swim of 2009 in an online poll it was a great accomplishment first and foremost by Smilley, but it also proved to be a tremendous example of how the passion and devotion of Special Olympics athletes, families and supporters has successfully transcended to the Internet thru social media and other online communities.

read more ››
January 27, 2010

Broadening the Depths of Opportunity

Thousands of miles away from the warm water temperatures of his home in the Cayman Islands, Andrew Smilley was about to join 800 swimmers, including five fellow Special Olympic athletes, in one of the most challenging Open Water Swims in the world, the RCP Tiburon Mile.

read more ››
January 27, 2010

Healthy Athletes Has Impact Long After Closing Ceremonies

Chih Hua Liu's visit to Healthy Athletes Opening Eyes at the 2009 World Winter Games in February ended in an ambulance ride to the emergency room with dangerously high pressure in his eye. When Bill Lutz went to a Healthy Hearing screening later that week, he was wearing obsolete hearing aids that left him virtually unable to hear. Recent follow-up interviews found that these athletes and many others like them are still benefiting from the interventions received at Healthy Athletes, as well as their overall Special Olympics experience.

read more ››
January 25, 2010

NFL Player Turned Staffer is "Hooked"

A former professional player with the National Football League, Tony Covington understands the meaning of "the power of sports"--on and off the playing field.  He told us about the difference he sees in Special Olympics athletes and how his own worldview has been transformed.

read more ››
January 01, 2010

Healthy Athletes in Belgium Given New Life, Thanks to Lions Club

When Ignace Fransman stood before the Lions Club annual assembly in Belgium on December 12 to advocate for support, it was the culmination of years of partnership and a welcome relief for a Healthy Athletes program struggling with funding issues.

read more ››
January 01, 2010

A New Pair of Goggles, A Whole New World

At one time, Athlete Kristina O’Neal did not know the pool had depth, but she is now open to a whole new world of swimming because of a precious gift of goggles from Healthy Athletes.

read more ››

Follow Us

Help us reach out to one more athlete.

Donate »

Find events near you and learn about volunteer opportunities at one of our 226 worldwide locations.

FIND A LOCATION NEAR YOU »

Our Supporters

MicrosoftRevolutionizing information systems that power our games.Learn more »


Our Supporters

The Christmas Records TrustFunding Special Olympics work worldwide.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Annenberg FoundationSupports our goals for coaches’ excellence.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Bank of AmericaProud partner of Special Olympics.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Coca-ColaSpecial Olympics Founding Partner.Learn More »


Our Supporters

ESPNGlobal Presenting Sponsor of Unified Sports®.Learn More »


Our Supporters

EssilorOfficial global supplier of ophthalmic lenses.Learn More »


Our Supporters

AIPSGlobal Impact Partner for Special Olympics.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Lions ClubSupports access to quality eye care.Learn More »


Our Supporters

MattelSupports Special Olympics Youth Programs.Learn More »


Our Supporters

MTM RecognitionSupplier of awards and medals for our athletes.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Perfect Sense DigitalSpecial Olympics' leading digital partner.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Procter & GambleCelebrating over 30 years of partnership with Special Olympics.Learn More »


Our Supporters

SafewayRaises funds and awareness for people with disabilities.Learn More »


Our Supporters

SàfiloSupplies optical frames and sunglasses.Learn More »


Our Supporters

UNICEFProvides greater inclusion of children with disabilities.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Y&RPowering our global youth marketing campaign.Learn more »


Special Olympics Blog

Sport and Tech Team Up for Good

Now, thanks to Microsoft, athletes, coaches and families will have rapid access to useful information about their scores, times, personal bests, fitness and health. Special Olympics can use this capability to dramatically improve the lives of people in our Movement.  read more »

Posted on 2014-10-27 by Janet

go to blog »


*

Special Olympics - Become a Fan

Help us on #GivingTuesday and Your Gift Will be Matched!

Make your year-end tax-deductible donation and help us get one more person onto the playing field.

Your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar through Dec. 31.