Through the power and joy of sports, Special Olympics transforms lives. Since 1968, Special Olympics has been offering people with intellectual disabilities year-round training and competitions in Olympic-style sports. Our more than 32 individual and team sports – from Alpine Skiing to Volleyball – provide quality training and well-matched sporting events. Win or lose, the goal is always to be brave in the attempt!
What is the Mission of Special Olympics?
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
In all that we do, Special Olympics strives to create a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people.
Your Support Transforms Lives
Through the power of sports, Special Olympics helps people with intellectual disabilities feel welcome in their communities and develop a profound belief in themselves. This is story of Lani DeMello:
"When you have a child with an intellectual disability, you think your world is going to be closed. Special Olympics has opened a whole new world for Lani and given her opportunities that we never dreamed would be possible for our daughter." Ana DeMello, mother of Special Olympics athlete Lani DeMello
Lani DeMello was born with intellectual disabilities and a heart defect. Her doctors told her mother Ana, "Take her home. She's never going to achieve anything." Flash forward 25 years and Lani is a Special Olympics gold medalist and a source of inspiration to her friends and family.
As a young girl, Lani took an interest in dance. She took classes at a local ballet studio, yet was unable to keep up with the other dancers. At 13, a friend recommended that she sign up to participate in Special Olympics. There, Lani finally had the support she needed and at her first gymnastics competition, she won almost exclusively gold medals.
Lani continued to work hard and wants to help other athletes succeed and build confidence. She received her coaching certification and has been assisting the gymnastics program. She even interned as a Technical Delegate for Rhythmic Gymnastics at the World Summer Games.
Give the Power of Sport to One More Person
Your support of Special Olympics changes lives. Please donate to Special Olympics and help us reach one more person like Lani DeMello who is still waiting for a chance to feel accepted, build confidence, and be a champion!