International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, occurring on 6 April, was created by the U.N. in 2013 to recognize the impact that sport can have on human rights issues. For 2021, the theme is resiliency—building back stronger and better.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Special Olympics Regions and Programs around the world have developed creative ways to keep athletes stay fit and engaged in community-building activities. Below is just a small sample of some of those activities over the past year.
Special Olympics Africa Region developed printable versions of Fit 5 exercise and warm up cards. Coaches can share exercises printed on hard card stock and share them with athletes who cannot access them digitally.
In the same Region, more than 50 athletes in five states from Special Olympics Bharat (India) took part in a virtual rope jumping experience. Supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), the event attracted media attention throughout the country.
In Special Olympics East Asia (SOEA), the School of Strength China Edition video series was launched. Produced as a collaboration between WWE and SOEA, it features WWE Champion Drew McIntyre demonstrating warm up, strength and flexibility exercise at various levels.
During European Football Week 2020, Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia hosted Faces of Football, an online platform allowing athletes, Unified partners, coaches and family members to track their progress as they practiced football (soccer) drills demonstrated in the videos provided.
The Region also saw individual countries host number of national, virtual Games and activities to support athletes at home.
Learn more below:
- National Games in Special Olympics Switzerland
- Stay Healthy at Home in Special Olympics Albania
- Youth Athletes in Special Olympics Montenegro receive training kits with the support of UNICEF
- Young Athletes in Special Olympics Turkey receive training kits with the support of MetLife
- Special Olympics Montenegro launches a new App for students in Unified Schools.
In the Special Olympics Latin America Region, Special Olympics Chile took part in the first-ever Unified eSports Tournament held in Latin America. Each of the four teams included Special Olympics athletes or a player with an intellectual disability, a professional athlete and an eGamer influencer.
Athlete leaders in Special Olympics Middle East/North Africa Region took part in the virtual Regional Athlete Leadership Input Council Meeting, putting their design skills to the test by building robots from recycled items found at home.
In the Special Olympics North America Move Challenge, 1,300 participants are tracking their weekly exercise minutes in an eight-week fitness competition. Athletes and Unified partners could choose what type of exercises they wanted to do and log the time in the online tracker.