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 split screen image of Ben Collins and Dr. Andreas Heinecke during a Zoom meeting.
Special Olympics Operations Specialist Ben Collins Talks with Dr. Andreas Heinecke, founder of Dialogue in the Dark, on World Sight Day 2020
2 Min Read
Special Olympics Athlete Publishes New Book
David Egan has travelled the world as a Special Olympics athlete, advocate and public speaker. Now, the former Special Olympics Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger has written about his life and unique perspective in a book titled More Alike Than Different: My Life with Down Syndrome.
1 Min Read
Kevin Brown standing with Tim Shriver and two FBI representatives.
Kevin Brown has overcome just about every obstacle put in front of him. He’s never let failure or people giving him a hard time stop him from doing what he loves. But most of all, he puts others first, leads by example and goes above and beyond, even in these uncertain times.
5 Min Read
On the left is Stephanie swimming and no the right is Stephanie standing behind a podium speaking. Text at the bottom reads: Inclusion Works! The Revolution is Inclusion
Through sports, Special Olympics athletes build skills and become leaders—on the field and in the community. Stephanie Handojo can tell you all about it! For Stephanie, swimming has been a great way to shatter stereotypes about the skills and stamina of people with Down syndrome. But to do this, she had to overcome many obstacles, including a huge one: her fear of water.
1 Min Read
nitzeida bowling and dressed in her chefs uniform.
Nitzeida was 11 when her mother died and her grandmother took her in, even as some of her siblings were living in the streets of Panama City. These were rough times, but one day Nitzeida saw something that gave her hope.
1 Min Read
A behind-the-scenes view of the NBA virtual fan experience on Microsoft Teams.
To say everything is a bit different these days is an understatement. But the NBA is doing everything it can to make things feel normal.
3 Min Read
Greg flexing his muscles.
Professional video shoots are full of flashing lights, loud noises and new scenarios. For someone with autism who has sensitivity to flashing lights, this setting can be overwhelming and intimidating. But Greg did not let that stop him from participating in the School of Strength fitness series.
1 Min Read
The Landscapes with Naveh Elder Welcomes ESPN | Special Olympics: Athletes with a disability, diversity and Inclusion | Wokie Daboh, Kate Jackson, and John Papa; images of the speakers are included under each persons name.
Special Olympics has come a long way since 1968 and now it goes beyond just sports. In the past two weeks, the Landscape Podcast, a series of episodes highlighting people, programs and businesses changing the landscape for individuals with any type of disability, has focused on Special Olympics and ESPN.
3 Min Read
Hassam, wearing a blue jacket, poses for a photo while holding a certificate from the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi.
How a Love of Football Helps Hassam Set Goals and Accomplish Them
1 Min Read
Anas' story
Anas Khalil Al Zorba was once described by some as hyperactive with excessive movement. Then, he joined Special Olympics Palestine. Because of his sports training, the exercise and rules of game helped him control his energy and gain discipline. Not only did his skills and dedication improve his behavior, self-reliance and independence, but they also got him noticed by Special Olympics coaches and staff.
1 Min Read
A picture of Loretta with text that reads: Happy Birthday Loretta Claiborne. The text is illustrated with streamers and balloons.
Loretta Claiborne has traveled the world with Special Olympics since starting to compete in 1970 with Special Olympics Pennsylvania. Over the past 50 years, she’s grown into one of Special Olympics’ most influential voices.
2 Min Read
Special Olympics Youth Leaders Making a Global Impact
Today, on International Youth Day, Special Olympics is helping to highlight youth leaders with and without intellectual disabilities who are leading for global action today and tomorrow for a more inclusive world. August 12 was declared International Youth Day by the U.N. in 1999 to celebrate the voices and engagement of young people who are working to create change in their communities, nations and the world.