This page draws together powerlifting-related information for all of Special Olympics. The coaching materials and other links will help you get a good sense of how this sport contributes to Special Olympics.

300 x 200 Powerlifting with IPF Logo

Special Olympics is pleased to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Powerlifting Federation and appreciates the championship competition opportunities the IPF has provided for Special Olympics athletes.View the Powerlifting Fact Sheet

Every athlete aims in lifting more weights than the opponent using specific moves. In Special Olympics Powerlifting is much more than deadlift, squat or bench press. It is effort, persistence and loyalty. Training, determination and attitude, are the key facts that define the balance between a successful or a failed attempt. The barbell, despite testing the physical strength, is also highlighting the athlete’s inner wish to improve, “not to make compromises."

The International Powerlifting Federation, which is the international governing body for the sport of powerlifting, has been supporting Special Olympics lifters for years. In April 2013, the IPF and Special Olympics agreed to work together to grow the sport worldwide for people with intellectual disabilities. For example, Special Olympics athletes competed during the 2013 Women's and Men's World Masters Powerlifting Championships in Orlando, Florida, USA. The IPF has agreed to share its expertise in Special Olympics powerlifting skills workshops.

Powerlifting Stories and News

July 25, 2014 | North America: Arkansas


By Karen Bradshaw, Proud Mom and Supporter

Special Olympics is a part of my son's life and will always be. Thanks to the organization for making my son feel that he can compete in sports!View Story Wanted to go back 22 years to where SPECIAL OLYMPICS first entered Blake's life. As he turned 30 this month and still competes. Special Olympics has meant everything to Blake as he loves all sports. Not being able to compete in the "typical" sports through public school, softball throw and 50 meter run came into this little boy's life and the rest is nothing but awesome!!!!! He then went to swimming, which was self taught by me and his father, and excelled for 3 years until, at the age of 16 found PowerLifting and the last 15 years has competed at Area and State levels breaking all kinds of records for himself. By being a powerlifter he has worked out at a local World's Gym for 10 years meeting all kinds of people whom have embraced and shared in his accomplishments. As a mom, I could ask for nothing better!!!! Special Olympics is a part of his life and will always be!!!!! Thanks to the organization for making my son feel that he CAN COMPETE IN SPORTS!!!! Yes he can and has!!!

About Karen Bradshaw, Proud Mom and Supporter:I am a very proud Mom, that has seen her son (Blake) go from a 8 year old softball thrower to a medaled athlete in Powerlifting the last 22 years. WOW, what an impact having Special Olympics has made in his life.
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July 03, 2014 | SOI General: Headquarters

New Coaching Quizzes: Powerlifting and Rhythmic Gymnastics

By Will Schermerhorn

Two new online quizzes on powerlifting and rhythmic gymnastics are a good way to review and learn about the Special Olympics approach to these sports in a low-pressure quiz format.View Story Two new online quizzes on powerlifting and rhythmic gymnastics are a good way to review and learn about the Special Olympics approach to these sports in a low-pressure quiz format. The quizzes are designed for coaches to diagnose gaps in knowledge, but they're useful for everyone involved in these sports. New officials will find the quizzes quite valuable. With the addition of these new quizzes, the Resources site now has more than a dozen quizzes. Most are on sports, but others cover Special Olympics General Rules and the history of Special Olympics. See the complete set of quizzes at the link below.

About Will Schermerhorn:I am the director of web products for Special Olympics.
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June 06, 2014 | North America: Missouri

Mark Harris Clings to Dead Lift Record

By Mandi Ballinger

Mark Harris completes a 515 lb dead lift

Mark Harris, Kansas City, was hoping to set a new Special Olympics Missouri record in the dead lift at powerlifting competition during the State Summer Games in Columbia May 31.View Story Mark Harris, Kansas City, was hoping to set a new Special Olympics Missouri record in the dead lift at powerlifting competition during the State Summer Games in Columbia May 31. He completed his lift of 505 easily. On his next try, he lifted 515 - the existing record, which he set a few years back. For his third and final lift, he was not able to complete the 520 lbs that would have set a new record. However, he still holds the unofficial title as strongest Special Olympics athete in Missouri, and we are so proud of him for being brave in the attempt!

About Mandi Ballinger:I've worked for Special Olympics Missouri since 2005. I'm currently the Marketing & Communications Director.
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Powerlifting Events




Oct 20 - 24 2014

Special Olympics Middle East - N. Africa Powerlifting, Tennis & Gymnastics Coaches Training Seminar

Special Olympics in the Middle East - N. Africa region will host coaching training seminars for Special Olympics Powerlifting, Tennis & Gymnastics 20-24 October in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For each sport the training seminars will cover the basics of coaching Special Olympics athletes, principles of coaching, nutrition, safety and fitness, preparing the athletes for competition, sport safety and risk management.
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Jul 24 - Aug 2 2015

World Summer Games Los Angeles 2015

In July of 2015 more than 7,000 athletes from 170 countries will come to Los Angeles, California for the Special Olympics World Summer Games and enjoy 10 days full of joy, friendship and competition. Athletes will compete in 22 sports. The event expects to attract 500,000 spectators and 30,000 volunteers and 3,000 coaches.
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World Summer Games Los Angeles 2015
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Various Locations, Los Angeles
Los Angeles , California

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Powerlifting Competitions

2014 Canada Summer Games

The Special Olympics 2014 Canada Summer Games was the largest Canadian Games ever. See results and teams.

2014 USA Games

The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games ran June 14-21. See results and stories.

2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games

Athens, Greece, was the home of the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games. That year, it was the world’s largest sporting event for athletes with intellectual disabilities. See results by athlete, delegation and bib number.

How to Get Involved in Special Olympics

Special Olympics sports training, coaching and competitions go on in more than 170 countries around the world. You can get involved by getting in touch with the closest Special Olympics office.

Special Olympics near you»

Made Possible by The Annenberg Foundation

The Special Olympics movement is profoundly grateful for the support of the Annenberg Foundation which has underwritten the production of the coaches’ guides and resources, supporting our global goals for coaches’ excellence.


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Videos and Photos

Coaching in SerbiaCoaches from three countries met in Serbia to hone their skills.See slideshow »

Videos and Photos

In Deep WaterGo feet first for one of the newest Special Olympics sports.See Slideshow »

Videos and Photos

Summer SportsOur athletes run, jump, swim and score in summer.See Slideshow »

Videos and Photos

Power of SportsSports are a powerful way to change our athlete’s lives.See Slideshow »

Videos and Photos

First Unity CupSpecial Olympics uses football to promote understanding.See Slideshow »

Videos and Photos

What We DoSports, health, education, community and more.See Slideshow »


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