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!
Princess Ayin is a 26-year-old athlete, student and role model to all in Accra, Ghana. She describes herself as tough, passionate and ambitious.
1 Min Read
Karla Violeta Castro González is a versatile athlete from Mexico. Her growing confidence in sports has led to confidence in other parts of her life as well!
1 Min Read
Like many people with intellectual disabilities, Yin Hao dreams of having a good job. But jobs can be hard to find—and job training can also be tough to find. Luckily, there is a visionary special coffee shop, located near Yin's school in Shanghai. It's called The Dream Workshop.
1 Min Read
Michael Jacques lives life overcoming obstacles. He doesn't read or write, but that doesn't stop him from sharing his story in the most creative of ways. Jacques shares his story about how he became a self-published author to his books "I Belong: Can I Play?" and "Can’t Read, Can’t Write, Here’s My Book." A feat that while challenging, was well worth it in the end.
5 Min Read
Novie Craven speaks with former Special Olympics athlete, RJ Nealson, about living with Cerebral Palsy on the “Inclusion Revolution Radio” Podcast.
1 Min Read
Jimmy Masina and Lou Lauria discuss Special Olympics federation partnerships and the being an athlete official.
1 Min Read
Special Olympics Advisor and advocate for Unified with Refugees programme, Gerald Mballe has been shortlisted for the Integration of Refugees Through Sport Award (IRTS) Role Model Award.
1 Min Read
Surrounded by the magnificent architecture showcased at the White House, Danielle Liebl was experiencing a life-changing event. On July 31, 2014, she joined fellow Special Olympics athletes, members of the Unified Generation, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for a dinner at the White House.
6 Min Read
Employment stories come in all categories, with each story reflecting a unique perspective and journey to getting that job. For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, it is not always an easy journey to employment.
7 Min Read
Omar Al Shami proudly represented his country, the United Arab Emirates, at the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, and achieved a gold medal in the swimming competition. Omar is also a member of Special Olympics UAE’s Unified Youth Council, a Health Messenger advocating for swimming and fitness, works with the Unified Schools program, and speaks at various large-scale events.
2 Min Read
Kurtis Jon Siu grew up in Hong Kong in a family of four, with an older brother who also has an intellectual disability. Kurtis credits Special Olympics with building his confidence, not only in sports but also by encouraging him to pursue his passions. One of those passions is art and design!
1 Min Read
It was a gloomy day when Rylan Ritter and his varsity football teammates from Poteau High School gathered for a team meeting following practice. Ritter, a sophomore, sitting on his knees and entirely focused on head coach Greg Warner, was about to get the surprise of a lifetime.
4 Min Read