What We Do

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    Big Competitions

    Special Olympics is a sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities. It is much more, too. As simple as it sounds, making sports available to all with intellectual disabilities is the basis for powerful changes to individual lives and to communities.

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    What Our Athletes Can Do

    We give people with ID the chance to show what they can do. It's simple. If people underestimate what you can do, show them what you can do. And sports is the perfect way to start.

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    Pushing Beyond the Ordinary

    Our athletes push themselves to reach deep inside and find the power and courage to try sports, such as open water swimming, that are challenging in many ways. Special Olympics gives them the opportunity, training and encouragement to try.

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    Unified Sports

    Team sports bring people together. Special Olympics Unified Sports® teams do that, too and much more. Half a million people worldwide take part in Unified Sports, breaking down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities in a really fun way by joining people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team.

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    Sports is a Bridge to Advocacy

    When the president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, attended the Special Olympics Middle East-North Africa Regional Games in Cairo in 2014, it caused a stir in Egypt and beyond. The president's support showed respect for a movement that seeks to bring acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities everywhere.

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    Building an Inclusive World

    Special Olympics is working for acceptance and inclusion of people with ID everywhere. We are achieving this through support of world leaders, such as former U.S. President Barack Obama, who hosted Special Olympics athletes and supporters at the White House.

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    Taking Sports to the Athletes

    Special Olympics reaches out to people with ID around the world, from Afghanistan's mountains and villages, above, and every region of the world. In all, Special Olympics is in more than 170 countries and numbers more than 4.7 million athletes with intellectual disabilities.

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    Healthy Athletes Perform Better

    Major Special Olympics events, such as the World Summer Games, are opportunities for teams of volunteer health professionals to conduct dozens, hundreds or thousands of free health screenings for our athletes.

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    Improving Athlete Health

    The Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program screens athletes eyes, ears, teeth, feet, nutrition and general health. More than 1.7 million free screenings have been done. The changes in many lives have been profound.

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    Excellence in Sports

    Professional athletes and Olympians like Michael Phelps work with Special Olympics to provide clinics in many sports. Those athletes know that Special Olympics focuses on what is important in sport: constantly aiming higher.

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    Sports For All

    Not everyone can jump, run and throw. For some, putting a ball in box is a challenge. Special Olympics embraces athletes of all ability levels. The joy of victory feels the same, no matter what the accomplishment.

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    Young Athletes, Too

    For children too young to be part of official Special Olympics competition, there's a program that prepares them for sports. Young Athletes focuses on balance, movement and the elements of games for children ages 2-7.

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