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AIPS: Special Olympics Athlete and Leader Kiera Byland Inspires AIPS Congress to Champion Inclusion Through Sport

Young woman in a red jacket holding a tablet speaking on stage.
Kiera Byland, BEM delivers speech to AIPS Global Congress

Earlier this week, Kiera Byland, BEM made history as the first-ever athlete with intellectual disabilities to address more than 400 sport journalists from five different continents who attended the AIPS Global Centennial Congress in Santa Susanna, Barcelona, Spain. The following is an excerpt from AIPS’s coverage of Kiera’s advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities and her challenge to attendees and viewers for more inclusion in sports.


With a compelling plea for unified inclusion, Byland implored journalists to leverage their platforms to create a more inclusive world—one where every athlete, regardless of ability, is welcomed and celebrated. Highlighting the vast reach of Special Olympics across more than 170 countries, she invited journalists to forge connections with local programs and amplify their impact through storytelling.

"We need more sports media covering our Special Olympics events and telling our stories. There are over two hundred million people with IDD around the world. The goal is to reach out to every one of them and their families, to bring them the gift of sport though Special Olympics. And you can help us," she made her plea to the AIPS delegates.

"CHOOSE TO INCLUDE" In closing, Byland challenged the audience to embrace inclusivity not only in sports journalism but also in their organisations. With a simple yet profound message—"Choose to include"—she called upon every individual to play a role in fostering a more equitable and accepting society.

Read the full article.

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