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iCoachKids and Special Olympics announce partnership to improve coaching and sports for people with intellectual disabilities

coach talking to an athlete while the athlete listens intently.

Tokyo, Japan - 1 November 2019: iCoachKids, a project to provide innovative learning and development opportunities for those coaching children and young people, today announced a partnership with Special Olympics, the global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power of inclusion through sport, leadership development, health, school engagement and youth leadership.

Through the partnership with iCoachKids, Special Olympics will offer inclusive youth sport coaches training for the first time in 2020, and will provide iCoachKids with expertise on adaptive sports for people with intellectual disabilities.

“Special Olympics and iCoachKids together make a powerhouse partnership that will change the game for people with intellectual disabilities. By drawing on the expertise of iCoachKids, we will ensure Special Olympics coaches have top notch education resources and training to ultimately deliver the very best inclusive experiences for our youngest athletes.”
Jon-Paul St. Germain, Senior Director of Unified Sports and Sports Partnerships at Special Olympics.

Coaches play a critical role in providing positive experiences that lead young people to lifelong involvement in sport and healthier lives. The partnership between iCoachKids and Special Olympics establishes a conduit for ongoing knowledge exchange. iCoachKids gains expertise on adaptive sports for people with intellectual disabilities for use with their network of over eight million coaches who work with young people throughout the European Union. Special Olympics gains access to a deep evidence base of youth sport coaching expertise that will benefit over 500,000 coaches in over 190 countries.

“This is a seminal moment for the iCoachKids project working together officially with Special Olympics International to ensure youth coaches are trained to the best standard,” said Dr Sergio Lara-Bercial, Founding Director of iCoachKids. “Whilst both organisations have similarly aligned missions to provide training for children, our newly found partnership will take this to the next level.”

The announcement was made during the closing session of the 12th ICCE Global Coaching Conference in the presence of over 400 delegates from across the globe. During the conference, iCoachKids and Special Olympics delivered a session entitled ‘Coaching the Long-Game’ that explored how coaches can guarantee future generations continue to enjoy and take part in sport.

About iCoachKids

iCoachKids is co-funded by an Erasmus+ grant and led by Leeds Beckett University (LBU) and the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE). It brings together another six world-class organisations with a common desire to support children and youth coaches and a proven track record of doing so. These include Sport Ireland Coaching, the Hungarian Coaches Association, the Netherlands Olympic Committee, the European University of Madrid, Lithuanian Sport University, and the Royal Belgian Football Association.

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is a global inclusion movement using sport, health, education and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1968, and celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 6 million athletes and Unified Sports partners in over 190 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including Bank of America, the Christmas Records Trust, The Coca-Cola Company, ESPN, Essilor Vision Foundation, the Golisano Foundation, IKEA Foundation, the Lane Family, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, Lions Clubs International, Safilo Group, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, TOYOTA, United Airlines, and The Walt Disney Company. Click here for a full list of partners. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and our blog on Medium. Learn more at

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Special Olympics
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