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Teens and college students are the future leaders of Special Olympics.
It's the mission of Special Olympics to show the world the capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities.
We have over 4.7 million athletes of all ages with intellectual disabilities around the world.
Our celebrity supporters are Olympians, professional athletes, social leaders, and movie and music stars.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a pioneer in the struggle for the rights of people with intellectual disabilities.
Direction for our movement comes from leaders in government, entertainment, sports and business.
All adults and children with intellectual disabilities can become Special Olympics athletes. Here's how.
Get involved with Special Olympics in your neighborhood. Find the program nearest you.
Get involved with our Unified Sports, a quick path to friendship and fun.
Special Olympics has events and competitions happening in places all around the world. View our events.
Get results by sport and team for major Special Olympics competitions.
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Make a Difference
Jack Mayor is an ambassador for Best Buddies Illinois and was asked to speak to help launch Spread the Word to End the Word campaign.
I've been called the R- word many times. It has caused anger and outbursts. I will take one step forward to forgive. Two steps back to educate but not tolerate.
Healthy Athletes Healthy Hearing resources have been updated and reorganized for easy navigation!
I know the people calling me the R-word coulden't come up with anything better. I told them to think first before they speak.
I heard a lady at the grocery store in front of her two year old say "I always get the retarded cart!"
I'm one of those kids that was called the "R" word and I am against it!!
My sister was diagnosed with Mild Intellectual Development Disorder she also has Autism. She has trouble learning, but she always knows to be nice to people. She also has trouble in social situations but knows to be nice to others.
Carl F Rollberg
I'm not proud of it though. I'm proud that I quit. That's what I'm saying. If you use the "R" word, stop, and you will feel better about yourself.
When I was a kid, I was kind of weird. I didn't have a lot of friends, and that was okay. I'd be on the playground, and maybe one or two people would play with me.
I have a 12 yr.old son! We all love him to death...I worry for his future and the cruel people out there.
I have two siblings, a brother and sister who were born with mental disabilities. They and I were made fun of during childhood. One of the siblings died a year ago.
This pledge popped up on my news feed I clicked on it and started reading comments and I'm totally appalled! Do any of these people with negative comments know a loved one with a developmental delay?
When I was in high school and in elementary school I was called the R word a lot just because I am different then everyone else .. That's not okay, I choose to pledge not to use that word.. I encourage others not to use it as well.
Pontiac Township High School has made another awesome video that is ENTIRELY student-made. It is called GOOD FEELINGS and features an original
When I was little I used to let people call me retard all the time. I am now 47 years old and now when people say the word I tell them that word is upsetting to me.
lynette alvera ann marshall
I have a few friends who protected me when I was in high school. They made sure the bullies knew their place when they made fun of me.
My friends don't know I'm autistic.
I didn't even know until a few months ago, but I always hated the r-word. It's derogatory, no two ways about it.
The Chicago Sun-Times wrote: "In 1968, Mr. O’Brien became one of the first Special Olympians at the inaugural games at Chicago’s Soldier Field. He competed every year until 2014, traveled the world, and won about 750 medals, many of them gold.
My friend Kathy became a teacher for special education and when I one day misused the R word, she schooled me. I have never since then used it, and in turn school others.
Harold William Greene
Before I had my child who was born with Down syndrome, I regularly used the r-word in slang as many people today do. Today, I am more aware of its effect on people with special needs and refuse to use this ignorant speech anymore.
Charles m Adams
My name is Charles. From an early age, I knew I was different. I couldn't keep up in high school. I was always pushed in school but it wasn't until I came to a friend that Ii found out about the Chicago Special Olympics organization and the rest as they say is history.I pledge never to use "Thatword" as long as I live.
I have a son that has cerebral palsy and people where I live the kids ride their bikes past my house yelling the R word and laugh.
Working with individuals with disabilities is an eye opening experience. Hearing people use the r-word really disappoints me. Just because someone has a disability doesn't mean they are incapable.
I am 55 years old and have a sibling with an intellectual disability. His influence on my life and development could not compare to the compilation of all my professors and colleagues.
My grandson Michael has special needs but is so beloved by all who know him and is helpful to everyone he meets. We have fought the R word for years.
Corinne Zollars, Sr. Director - Marketing & Communications, Special Olympics Illinois
We need everybody to say the r-word is not good for everybody. Let's take a stand by putting the r-word out for not just one person but all of us. Let's make everybody be happy. Thank you.
My little sister has Down's and for as long as I remember, i have hated the r-word. I have always told me friends not to use it.
Jean & Jan Finn
Hello my name is Zachary Robert Melau and I am currently an athlete. I compete in Special Olympics. I started 13 years ago.
My Name is Eric Baumann, I have been doing Special Olympics since about 5th grade or 8 years old, and live the skills through Special Olympics.
Joseph George Krivosik
Last year was my first time competing in Unified bocce. I never competed in bocce before and I tried it for my first time and I liked it. When we went to the area meet for Unified bocce, me and another coach named Eugene Luzwick got second place.
When I first became a Falcon, I didn't know what to expect. I was nervous and scared. The team made me feel like family and I made a lot of friends.
My Stepdads Tom Reynolds and Robert Christian was in the 4th Degree and they were at the opening ceremonies when we wre at the ILLINIOS Special OLYMPICS Summer games! It was so much fun!
My parents tell me I've just stopped growing up. So I'm happy I'm like Peter Pan. I keep my happy thoughts and I avoid pirates. Lol.
Kids in my class started using the r-word, and I was young and didn't know what it meant. I said it around my mom, and she told me what it meant.
Alex participated in the 2014 Special Olympic USA games in aquatics. We are so proud of him winning three gold medals.
I had the supreme honor of having the opportunity to chat with Mrs. Shriver years ago when she made a presentation at Holy Family Church in Chicago. There was a reception afterwards and I went up and thanked her for having started Special Olympics.
I have a friend named Sierra. She has Down syndrome. Ever since I met Sierra I started realizing how many people throw around the R-word like it doesn't mean anything.