Our Athletes
athlete lead
Athletes are the heart of Special Olympics. Our athletes are children and adults with intellectual disabilities from all around the world—5.6 million and counting! They are finding success, joy and friendship as part of our global community. They're also having lots of fun!
A team of Unified Champion Schools Basketball players from Special Olympics Missouri
Classroom and Distance Learning Activities for Middle School and High School Students
2 Min Read
Ashley Adie standing next to another athlete and both are showing off their medals.
In 2004, 14-year old Ashley Adie experienced true inclusion for the first time. During a Special Olympics British Columbia Regional swim meet, Adie would enjoy the competition, but she found something much more than the ribbons and personal bests that day.
3 Min Read
Abby Resnick competing in a swim competition.
Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Abby Resnick could no longer participate in competitions, coach floor hockey, and teach drum and tone for people with special needs. She started to look for new activities to do at home.
2 Min Read
Image of the Fox Sports Radio 96.9FM visual with an image of Novie Craven.
Novie Craven is a Special Olympics DC athlete of more than 10 years, a gold medalist on the national stage, a Special Olympics employee, and an all-around leader of the Special Olympics movement. She recently rocked it during an interview with Kelsey Nicole Nelson on KNN/Fox Sports Radio.
1 Min Read
Tyler Leech on the green playing golf with another player.
There he is, alone, with mother nature. Unlacing his shoes and removing his socks, he walks barefoot on the Iowa soil. Depending on the day, a shadow might reflect off the cool grass. The crisp sharpness of the earth glides across his skin helping Tyler Leech disconnect from the world.
4 Min Read
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
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
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
Michel playing football on the right and in his mechanics shirt on the left.
Michel needed a job to support his mother and younger siblings, but he had yet to develop the social and adaptive skills that are so necessary in the workplace. Among other things, he had to adapt to working and communicating with a variety of people.
1 Min Read
Chris Nikic with a coach on the banks of the water before his swim.
A month before Chris Nikic, Special Olympics Florida athlete, becomes the first person with Down syndrome to compete in a full IRONMAN race on 7 November 2020, he is taking the media by storm as a groundbreaking and high performance athlete.
3 Min Read
Two image of Yossef: on the left he is running on the right he is sitting behind a computer.
Youssef saw his friends beaten and bullied, then he was beaten and bullied—all because they have intellectual disabilities. Instead of giving up, he became determined to show the world that people with ID can do anything “if only we are given the chance.”
2 Min Read
A row of athletes sitting on chairs applauding.
“Take care of yourself and move forward” has been Joe Wu’s motto during these last few months. No longer able to compete and to practice on a regular basis, Wu—like so many others—has turned to virtual ways to connect and uplift those around him.
2 Min Read