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F1 driver Zhou Guanyu becomes Special Olympics Global Ambassador

Zhou Guanyu, Special Olympics Global Ambassador and Formula 1 Driver (Alfa Romeo F1 Team)

Washington, D.C. 14 July 2023  – F1 racing driver Zhou Guanyu has pledged his support to creating more sporting opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) by becoming a Global Ambassador for Special Olympics. Born in Shanghai, China, but based in Great Britain, 24-year-old Guanyu is the first driver from China to become a Grand Prix starter after making his debut for Alfa Romeo in 2022, having previously raced in F4, F3 and F2.

"We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Zhou Guanyu as a Global Ambassador, as he joins us in spreading awareness about the profound impact sports can have in fostering genuine social inclusion. We share his vision in helping to create a world where inclusivity knows no boundaries, driven by the unifying spirit of sports. Together, we will amplify our message and inspire others to join our cause, continuing to ignite a global movement towards a truly inclusive society."
Mary Davis, CEO, Special Olympics International

As part of the launch of his inaugural two-year term as a Global Ambassador, last week Guanyu welcomed Special Olympics Great Britain athletes to the paddock at Silverstone and gave them an exclusive look behind the scenes ahead of the British Grand Prix.

“It’s a huge honour to become a Global Ambassador for Special Olympics. I’ve recently met with and watched several athletes from around the world compete. To learn more about their passion for their sport and see the friendship and warmth that they show for their competitors in their Special Olympics family, was inspiring. Everyone deserves the right to shine and to fulfil their potential and I’m thrilled to become part of such a great sporting and inclusion movement.”
Zhou Guanyu, Special Olympics Ambassador

The F1 driver has also taken part in a Zoom meeting with athletes and recently visited the 2023 Special Olympics World Games Berlin, where he watched competitions and met Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger and former Special Olympics Great Britain Athlete Leadership Team Chair Ian Harper along with athletes from the Special Olympics China delegation.

Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger and Special Olympics Great Britain athlete Ian Harper said, “It was fantastic to meet Zhou in Berlin. He’s worked very hard to become China’s first F1 driver, and his story can be an inspiration to all of us in what you can achieve when you are so committed to your goal. It’s clear that he wants to bring an even greater profile to the work of Special Olympics in the countries that he races in around the world and, at just 24-years-old, he has a very exciting career ahead of him. Everyone in the Special Olympics movement is very excited to be part of that journey with him.”

As a Global Ambassador for Special Olympics, Guanyu joins a list of well-known figures from across the world of sport, entertainment and media, who support the global nonprofit as part of a two-year program.

About Special Olympics

Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We foster acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health and leadership. With nearly four million athletes and Unified Sports® partners and one million coaches and volunteers in more than 170 countries, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and nearly 50,000 games and competitions every year. Engage with us on: X, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn. Learn more at

About Special Olympics Great Britain

Special Olympics Great Britain (GB), set up in 1978, is a non-profit charity which provides year-round sports coaching and athletic competition in summer and winter sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics GB currently has 95 accredited programmes in England, Scotland and Wales and provides coaching and competition opportunities in 27 sports. These programmes are run by over 3,500 volunteers who support more than 6,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities to take part. Special Olympics GB is more than just an opportunity to take part in sport—it transforms lives.  It provides opportunities to increase confidence, realise potential, develop physical fitness and mental well-being, demonstrate courage and experience new friendships.  And above all for both athletes and their families—to have some FUN. The work of Special Olympics GB is currently funded by individuals, trust and corporate donations and financial support is crucial to enable us to continue our work.

Media Contact

Christy Weir

Special Olympics International
Vice President, International Media Relations & Communications
+1 202 738-8511

Tom Rawlings

Special Olympics Great Britain
+44 (0)7789 813999