Our Impact

Special Olympics Made All the Difference

Loretta stands at a podium and smiles at the crowd.
Special Olympics Pennsylvania athlete Loretta Claiborne spoke about the value of the Healthy Athletes program at the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting. At the meeting, former President Bill Clinton announced a commitment of $12 million by US businessman and philanthropist Tom Golisano in support of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes

“I developed an anger inside of myself. But my saving grace was this thing that I wanted to be an athlete. And there was this thing called “Special Olympics.”
Loretta Claiborne
Loretta stands and poses for a photo with three medals displayed proudly around her neck.

With these words, Loretta Claiborne summarized what had made all the difference in her life. On “That Made All the Difference,” an original podcast created by Bank of America and published in The New York Times, host Alicia Burke interviewed Loretta Claiborne , Chief Inspiration Officer of Special Olympics, and Mary Davis , CEO of Special Olympics. During their conversation, the two legends driving the Special Olympics movement discuss how Special Olympics changed Loretta’s life and how it changes the lives of people around the world.

Loretta runs on a track.

Growing up in York, Pennsylvania, Loretta felt as though she wasn’t worthy of anything. She was in special education classes and often bullied for her disabilities. Until she found running and Special Olympics, she dealt with her aggression with fighting. An integral turning point for her was meeting Eunice Kennedy Shriver , the founder of Special Olympics, in 1972 at a track meet in Los Angeles and later in 1981 in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Shriver and the entire Special Olympics movement made her feel worthy and propelled her to keep going. Special Olympics and Mrs. Shriver gave her the encouragement and support to become the person she is today and to be a role model for others. Click here to listen to Loretta and Mary talk about how Special Olympics made all the difference.

As we move forward, we need to know you’re with us. Be a revolutionary and help end discrimination against people with Intellectual Disabilities.
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