Detroit will host over 300 athletes with and without intellectual disabilities from 31 July – 6 August 2022. The historic week will celebrate the joy of sport and the power of inclusion through camaraderie, competition, and breaking down social barriers.
Detroit has a long history of meeting the future head-on, serving as a beacon to the nation for innovation and grit. As Special Olympics looks forward to the triumphant return to international competition in 2022, Detroit is the perfect location to showcase the power of Unified Sports.
"Over the past decade, exemplary work has been accomplished in Detroit. From growing the Detroit Public School Community District to be the largest Unified Champion School district in the nation to creating the city’s first Unified Football League, Detroit has Unified Sports written in its DNA and branded on its legacy moving forward.”
Special Olympics Unified Sports® brings together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to play on the same team, demonstrating how playing and competing together breaks down barriers and ultimately creates communities of acceptance and inclusion. The Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022 will be the second-ever tournament in this single-sport series, following the inaugural competition in 2018 in Chicago.
Selected Special Olympics female teams:
- Burkina Faso
- Caribbean (Haiti, Aruba, Bahamas)
- Costa Rica
- Bharat (India)
- Serendib (Sri Lanka)
Selected Special Olympics male teams:
- Hong Kong
- Nippon (Japan)
- Saudi Arabia
“I love how inclusive Unified Sports are. It is about being the best athlete you can be but not all about winning. It allows us as athletes to show that we can do anything.”
Competition and events throughout the week will attract more than 10,000 spectators, 1,000 volunteers and 500 family members and dignitaries to the tournament. Additionally, the competition will be broadcast by ESPN and reach millions of viewers across the globe.
A primary objective of the Special Olympics Unified Cup is to reach and collaborate with professional football clubs, their foundations, and football federations to support the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities and the development of Unified Sports.
"We're excited to welcome athletes and their families to Detroit this summer. The DCFC community has a longstanding relationship with Special Olympics and shared mutual values for promoting a more inclusive society. We look forward to hosting the finals at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck and creating an electric atmosphere for the athletes."
Globally, more than 885,000 Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners (athletes without intellectual disabilities) compete in football (soccer).
The finals will be broadcast from Keyworth Stadium—home of the Detroit City Football Club—to hundreds of millions of viewers across the globe by ESPN, the Global Broadcast Partner of Special Olympics and the Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports®.
The Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022 is made possible thanks to support from sponsors Toyota, ESPN, Ally Financial, Gallagher, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network, The Coca-Cola Company, and The Real Estate One Charitable Foundation. For more information, visit unifiedcup.org and stay up to date on our social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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 more than six million athletes and Unified Sports partners in over 190 countries and territories and more than one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions every year. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedInand our blog on Medium. Learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org.
About Special Olympics Michigan
Special Olympics Michigan Inc. (SOMI) provides year-round sports training and athletic competition to over 23,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities and Unified partners (athletes without intellectual disabilities). Athletes develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy while participating in the sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship among their families, Special Olympics athletes, and the community. SOMI is a non-profit organization supported almost entirely by corporate and individual gifts and events. The generosity of Michigan organizations, individuals, and statewide businesses enable the program to continue.
About Ally Financial
Ally Financial Inc. (NYSE: ALLY) is a digital financial services company committed to its promise to "Do It Right" for its consumer, commercial and corporate customers. Ally is composed of an industry-leading independent auto finance and insurance operation, an award-winning digital direct bank (Ally Bank, Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender, which offers mortgage lending, point-of-sale personal lending, and a variety of deposit and other banking products), a consumer credit card business, a corporate finance business for equity sponsors and middle-market companies, and securities brokerage and investment advisory services. A relentless ally for all things money, Ally helps people save well and earn well, so they can spend for what matters. For more information, please visit www.ally.com and follow @allyfinancial.