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Latin America

Special Olympics Latin America is part of Special Olympics, an international organization dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition.

A love of football ties us all together. Read More
The 2010 Latin America games were in Puerto Rico. Learn More
A football team from Ecuador prepares for the 2011 World Summer Games. See Video

Stories from Latin America


March 19, 2015 | SOI: Europe-Eurasia

World Winter Games 2017 Mascot Unveiled

By Suzanne Coogan

Lara and Luis - the winning design by Hanna Riebenbauer and Alexander Menzel, design students at the University of Applied Sciences in Styria.

The official Mascot for the Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 has been unveiled at a ceremony at Graz City Hall by Mayor of Graz Mr. Siegfried Nagl.View Story The official Mascot for the Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017 has been unveiled at a ceremony at Graz City Hall by Mayor of Graz Mr. Siegfried Nagl. Designers from 10 countries submitted a total of 51 designs and a jury of 9 people including two Special Olympics athletes as well as a public vote selected the winning design. The winning Mascot-Lara and Luis-depicts two of Austria’s most celebrated animals, a deer and a badger, and is inspired by the Games slogan Heartbeat for the World. The two winning designers 23 yrs old Hanna Riebenbauer and Alexander Menzel, 26, are students of the University of Applied Sciences in Styria. Their design took two months to complete. “We wanted to take two animals that are dear to Austrian hearts and combine this with the meaning and spirit of Special Olympics. We hope that the World will take Special Olympics athletes to their hearts as well as Lara and Luis and celebrate the spirit and meaning of Special Olympics. We're really thrilled."

About Suzanne Coogan:Senior Manager of Media and Public Awareness with Special Olympics Europe Eurasia
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March 11, 2015 | Latin America: Mexico

I'm Fernendo Rios and I'm a Champion

By Paola Martinelli

Fernando started participating in athletics, basketball and swimming – his current sport. His family, teachers and friends are very pleased with the accomplishments that Fernando has had thanks to his perseverance and effort.View Story Fernando Rios Duran was born in Villa Avila Camacho, Xicotepec - Puebla on April 7, 1995. His parents are Mrs. Gaona Epiphany Duran and Juan Vargas Rios. Fernando has a mild intellectual disability. When he was born he presented hypoxia, which resulted in disabilities in his motor development. Fernando began his story in Special Olympics in a event organized by the Movement near his school zone. He started participating in athletics, basketball and swimming – his current sport. His family, teachers and friends are very pleased with the accomplishments that Fernando has had thanks to his perseverance and effort. Fernando is very excited and he cannot believe that he will be traveling by plane; it is the first time he will travel by plane. He is also very excited to know another country and what motivates him the most is that he will make friends with people from different parts of the world.

About Paola Martinelli:Directora Nacional de Comunicación y Mercadotecnia
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March 08, 2015 | Latin America: El Salvador

Unified Athletics Tournament

By Guisele Calderón

On October 24 we held a Unified Athletics tournament where athletes, families, coaches and volunteers participated in competitions full of joy and inclusion.View Story On October 24 we held a Unified Athletics tournament where athletes, families, coaches and volunteers participated in competitions full of joy and inclusion. Unified Sports program is the greatest challenge to promote the inclusion of athletes through sport. The participation of athletes with and without disabilities is the best example of the potential of sports social integration. Special Olympics Unified Sports brings together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities, called "Unified partners", to train and compete in the same team. Twenty unified peers who competed in the tracks of Estadio Jorge "Magico" Gonzalez in different tests. The judges of the event came from the Salvadoran Athletics Federation, who at all times encouraged the athlete and unified partners.

About Guisele Calderón:Marketing Coordinator, Communications and Public
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March 03, 2015 | Latin America: Peru

Feeling Respected for the First Time

By Branko Stojakovic Astorne

Branko Stojakovic Astorne (left) with Dr. Gonzalo Larrabure

Branko Stojakovic Astorne penned a blog about his experience speaking to a post-graduate class at the Universidad Científica del Sur in Peru. His powerful firsthand account demonstrates one way Special Olympics athletes can change attitudes and perceptions.View Story Branko Stojakovic Astorne penned a blog about his experience speaking to a post-graduate class at the Universidad Científica del Sur in Peru. His powerful firsthand account demonstrates one way Special Olympics athletes can change attitudes and perceptions by working directly with health care providers.

About Branko Stojakovic Astorne:I am 38 years old, and I have had intellectual disabilities since I was born, but my family has supported me all my life. I feel fine with who I am, and I’ve never felt anything other than that. I like challenges and being able to help others. I am part of The Association of Young Leaders with Intellectual Disabilities, where we fight for the rights of people with disabilities. Also, I’m a proud member of the Special Olympics Global Athlete Health Advisory Committee.
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February 13, 2015 | Latin America: Mexico

Andrea Arvizu: My Story as a Volunteer

By Paola Martinelli

Being able to support Special Olympics is a wonderful experience. I can see athletes in an environment full of opportunities that helps them develop their physical and mental capabilitiesView Story Being able to support Special Olympics is a wonderful experience. I can see athletes in an environment full of opportunities that helps them develop their physical and mental capabilities, while living an experienced and self-fulfilling life of independence. Being with their teams. But most of all living with others, and having a sense of belongingness they don’t find anywhere is amazing. I am grateful for the opportunity they gave me to participate and to help. I hope they will always invite me to share my time and efforts to make me a better person and to get more people involved.

About Paola Martinelli:National Director of Communications and Marketing
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Special Olympics Latin America
Urbanización Obarrio
Calle 58, P.H. Office One, Floor 11, Office 1103
Panama City, Panama

Office: +1 (507) 214-4500
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Special Olympics Blog

Jean Vanier, a prophet of humility and simplicity, wins!

Today, the Templeton Foundation gave its most prestigious award to my hero, Jean Vanier.  For Linda and our children and me, he has also been our retreat leader, our teacher of humility, our guide. 

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Posted on 2015-03-11 by Tim

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