Stories
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These stories are about the power of Special Olympics to inspire hope, confidence and courage. Special Olympics changes the lives of our athletes with intellectual disabilities but also our coaches, families, volunteers and others who have the opportunity to take part.
David Evangelista and Gerald Mballe standing side by side.
In 2020, the United Nations marks 75 years of working toward “peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet.” On United Nations Day, we celebrate the UN’s work with a look at some of the Special Olympics athlete leaders, from around the world, who have spoken before UN audiences throughout the years.
1 Min Read
Niall sitting with three other athletes that are wearing masks of him.
Special Olympics Great Britain athlete Niall Guite, a basketball gold medalist, has drawn more than 100 pictures of U.K. football (soccer) stadiums and has raised £4,298 so far by selling them.
1 Min Read
Dana Shilts and Russel Wolff in their own screens during a zoom interview.
What are the benefits of inclusion? Just ask Russell Wolff, Executive Vice President & General Manager of ESPN+, speaking here with Special Olympics athlete Daina Shilts, who’s been part of ESPN’s broadcast team covering World Games. Russell says working with people with intellectual disabilities inspires everyone “to be more thoughtful and to be more interested in people who are different.” He adds, “[Inclusion] also makes us better at what we do every day.”
Banele on the track on the left and on the beach on the left.
Banele is a South Africa athlete and athlete leader who built on his basketball and athletics skills to become a coach. Then, he became decided to share his training techniques with others in his community.
1 Min Read
Athlete Kai Bodenstein hugging Coach Rob van Someren Brand in a gymnasium.
My name is Rob van Someren Brand, and I’m a football coach for Special Olympics Germany in Berlin.
3 Min Read
Tali painting on an outside mural.
Special Olympics is mourning the passing of Tali Kornhauser, family coordinator at Special Olympics Israel. She was a guiding force and inspiration for athletes and activists, family members and Unified teammates—and everyone else—in Israel, Europe and beyond. She was a decades-long champion of inclusion through sports, the arts, and in life.
1 Min Read
Conversations With My Hero
A series of video interviews between youth leaders in Africa Region and their personal heroes showcase the best of inclusion across society, from the sports field to the classroom, the work place and even the performance stage.
2 Min Read
Melissa on stage with a medal draped around her neck speaking at SOMA's 50th Anniversary in 2018.
Melissa Reilly has never let her disability determine what she can and cannot do. Born with Down syndrome, Reilly defies stereotypes every day through sport, leadership and employment, exemplifying the value people with intellectual disabilities bring to all facets of life.
5 Min Read
Coach Emi in a bright purple cow-neck sweater on the ice with ice skaters in the background.  Text on the top reads: Confidence. Text on the bottom reads: Coach Emi Freese, Special Olympics New York; Gallagher logo and text that reads: Official Sponsor of Special Olympics International Sport and Coach Programming.
The role of a coach comes down to being a strong and supportive leader. As Special Olympics New York coaches, we do this with and for the athletes. We're taking the sport that we love and sharing it because we want to make a change in this world for the better.
2 Min Read
Athlete, Stephanie Handojo, demonstrating proper hand washing techniques to young children.
The world changed in 2020. Isolation, fear, overloaded health systems, and food insecurity continue to plague the world through the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has especially made things difficult for people with intellectual disabilities (ID). Significant health disparities have been further exacerbated for those with ID. Special Olympics Health has been working hard to address these disparities.
2 Min Read