Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to questions that often come up about Special Olympics.

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 nearly 3.5 million children and adults with intellectual disabilities in more than 170 countries, Special Olympics has created a model community that celebrates people’s diverse gifts. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. 

How many people does Special Olympics serve?
Special Olympics serves nearly 3.5 million persons with intellectual disabilities in 226 Programs in more than 170 countries.

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 intellectual 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 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 leads Special Olympics?
Timothy Shriver serves as Chairman of the Board. Special Olympics guides local, area, state/provincial and national Programs around the world. A volunteer Board of Directors determines international policies and is composed of business and sport leaders, professional athletes, educators and experts in intellectual disability from around the world.

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: intellectual 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. The Special Olympics Young Athletes™ program was created for children with intellectual disabilities ages 2 through 7.

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.

What is divisioning?
In Special Olympics competitions, athletes of all ability levels are encouraged to participate, and every athlete is recognized for his or her performance. Through a process called divisioning, Special Olympics competitions are structured so that athletes compete with other athletes of similar ability in equitable divisions.

When are Special Olympics World Games held?
The Special Olympics World Summer Games are held every four years. The 2007 World Summer Games were held in Shanghai, China, on 2-11 October; the 2011 World Summer Games were held in Athens, Greece, on 25 June - 4 July. The Special Olympics World Winter Games also are held every four years. The 2005 World Winter Games were held in Nagano, Japan, on 26 February-5 March. The 2009 World Winter Games were held in Boise, Idaho (USA), on 7-13 February. The first Special Olympics World Games were held in Chicago, Illinois USA, in 1968.

Are there differences between Special Olympics and Paralympics?
Yes, Special Olympics and the Paralympics are two separate and distinct organizations with specific eligibility requirements.

Your Donation Matters

Special Olympics transforms athletes’ lives through the joy of sport. Help us make a difference.

DONATE TODAY»

Volunteer Near You

Volunteering with Special Olympics is fun and very rewarding, for both the athlete and the volunteer!

LEARN MORE»

Follow Us

帮助我们多援助一名运动员

捐赠 »

在我们的 220 个全球办事处查找当地的活动并了解相关志愿者机会。

查找您附近的地点 »

Videos and Photos

鼓舞人心的年轻人一项以青少年为中心的特奥会项目已在印度启动和运行。查看幻灯片 »


Videos and Photos

到达山顶乞力马扎罗山是新加坡特奥运动员的试验场。查看幻灯片 »


Videos and Photos

Deon Namiseb他是一位演说家,并且是偶像级人物。 但最初在纳米比亚的日子里,却并非如此。了解详情 »


Videos and Photos

非常特别音乐有助于特奥会在世界范围内发挥影响。查看幻灯片 »


Videos and Photos

世界各地特奥会活动和人们的精彩照片。查看幻灯片 »


Videos and Photos

变革中的合作伙伴特奥会合作伙伴对我们的工作至关重要。查看幻灯片 »


Videos and Photos

夏季体育运动在夏季,我们的运动员可以跑步、跳跃、游泳并获得相应得分。查看幻灯片 »


Videos and Photos

体育的力量体育是一种改变运动员生活的强大方式。查看幻灯片 »


Videos and Photos

不同Barry Cairns 说,患有智力障碍的人士如何能够成为运动员。观看视频 »


Special Olympics Blog

Health Needs Need Closer Examination

"You can't compete if your feet hurt, if your teeth hurt or if your ears ache."read more »

Posted on 2014-04-07 by Ryan

go to blog »


*

Special Olympics - Become a Fan