Steady Growth of Special Olympics Means Reaching More People with ID
July 19, 2012
estimated 200 million people on Earth who have intellectual disabilities (ID),
Special Olympics offers a place to learn, to be challenged and to be accepted
for who they are. The most recent stats on our reach and growth show Special
Olympics has reached 4 million athletes with ID worldwide.
Summary. Here's a summary of many of the important facts and statistics
about Special Olympics. See
The new numbers
about Special Olympics are laid out in the new 2011 Reach Report. The
important, impressive numbers are summarized in this infographic.
At the first games in 1968, Special Olympics was a bold idea with about
1,000 participants. It took decades to reach 1 million athletes with
intellectual disabilities; that milestone came in 2000. This year, Special
Olympics' reach exceeds 4 million athletes.
That may not be the most
impressive number, though. Consider that Special Olympics had 53,601
competitions in 2011. Not practices, but competitions in one or more of our 32
That means that on an average day, there are 146 competitions
going on around the world. Each of those competitions represents many hours of
training and practice by our athletes. And supporting those athletes are
306,652 volunteer coaches.
Panama. A dental student helps screen the health of a Special Olympics
Volunteers Fuel the Movement
Olympics is a volunteer movement, first and foremost. All those coaches are
putting in hours because they believe in Special Olympics' message of
empowerment and respect.
Think of who else supports the athletes and
coaches: volunteers who work behind the scenes and in public ways to support
the competitions and local efforts. Special Olympics counted more than 750,000
volunteers in addition to the coaches.
One particular set of volunteers
uses their years of training and experience in the medical and health
professions to provide free health screening clinics to our athletes worldwide.
The Healthy Athletes program provided 765 clinics and screened 117,000 athletes
with ID in 2011.
Every Day, All Around the World
Leadership Programs are also moving onward and upward, and we take pride in our many new athlete leaders. In fact, we now have
28,896 athlete leaders! Unified Sports is also continuing steady growth: 9
percent in 2011. That means more than a half-million athletes and partners took
part in Special Olympics unified events -- bringing together athletes with and
without disabilities -- all around the world.
With 225 programs in 170
countries, there's always something exciting going on at Special Olympics, every single day. This
year proved that once again that Special Olympics is more than just a game or a
race or a tournament -- it's a community, a life-altering experience, a global force
and a movement.
Around the world, months of practice are paying off.See Slideshow ››
Around The World
Great photos of Special Olympics events and people.See Slideshow ››
About Special Olympics in North America
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