Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Daniel Smrokowski, Special Olympics Athlete, Illinois and Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger

Daniel Smrokowski

Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger

Daniel Smrokowski is an award-winning podcaster, columnist, and advocate telling disability stories on his groundbreaking platform Special Chronicles. He reaches thousands of people monthly giving respect and voice to people with disabilities. Daniel educates and informs our communities that those with different abilities bring unconditional love and joy every day. Even though communication is Daniel’s biggest struggle it continues to be his biggest passion.

It all began when he became a Special Olympics athlete in his home state of Illinois competing in swimming and basketball. Special Olympics gave Daniel the spotlight to make an impact in the world beyond sport by training him as an athlete spokesperson. He then decided to broaden his skills by attending Roosevelt University in Chicago, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. While at Roosevelt, Daniel received the Matthew Freeman Award for Social Justice for his efforts through media to give people with disabilities a voice.

Daniel has received recognition in various forms, but one of his proudest achievements was being a member of the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Marketing Committee. He worked in what is called a “unified” capacity helping his media colleagues develop communications. Perhaps his most notable contribution was being a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Daniel is one of the four original Special Olympics athletes hired by United Airlines, a global partner with Special Olympics. He is employed as a Service Ambassador and also serves on Bridge, United’s business resource group connecting people of all abilities. United continues to take inclusion to new heights expanding its inclusive employment program. United Airlines along with Bridge have supported Daniel’s Unified at Work podcast series, a Special Chronicles original series featuring conversations about inclusive employment.

Daniel is currently serving as an advisor on the feature documentary, All You Hear Is Noise, which follows a team of U.S.A. athletes with intellectual disabilities as they train, prepare and travel to Abu Dhabi to compete in the Special Olympics World Games. The film is highlighted at the April 2024 Cleveland International Film Festival, along with other festivals on the circuit, and is expected to reach a broader audience on a streamer platform.

In 2023, he attended Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, Germany as a Sargent Shriver Global Messenger (SSGM). Daniel contributed as a media expert. He spoke at a film screening, a gathering of donors, Global Youth Leadership Summit, Global Forum for Inclusion, Special Olympics Program leaders, and corporate partners such as Coca-Cola and Golisano. The impact of his service as an SSGM was visible on the Jumbotron as Daniel stood in the Berlin Olympic Stadium with his peers and Special Olympics’ Chairman Tim Shriver as they raised their hands to affirm global inclusivity.

Daniel currently serves as Co-Chair of the Athlete Leadership Council for Special Olympics Illinois (SOILL). This council provides input specific to SOILL, mentors other athlete peers, and co-facilitates athlete leadership workshops. In addition, Daniel moderates orientations for new members of the Special Olympics Illinois Board of Directors.

When not speaking or training, Daniel can be found creating new Special Chronicles content or spending time with his girlfriend and family. He enjoys riding his bicycle, taking walks and streaming entertainment. To quote his mother, “If all the world were like Special Olympics, then there would be no wars.”

The Coca-Cola Company has enlisted Daniel for an exciting opportunity to be featured at the Paris 2024 Olympics. Along with athletes from the Olympics and Paraolympics, Daniel has the honor to represent Special Olympics in Team Coca-Cola.

International Global Messengers


Make a Difference

Please donate and help us get one more athlete onto the playing field.
Donation Amount