The Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) and Special Olympics have joined forces to further promote volleyball worldwide through mutual programmes, including knowledge transfer and Special Olympics Ambassador programmes, as both organisations strive for inclusion in sport.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed during the ceremony at the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 in Germany’s capital. A number of prominent volleyball and beach volleyball players joined the ceremony, including several Olympic and World Champions:
- Julius Brink (Olympic champion and World Champion in beach volleyball from Germany)
- Gilberto “Giba” Amauri de Godoy Filho (Olympic champion, three-time World Champion in volleyball from Brazil)
- Vladimir Grbic (Olympic champion in volleyball from Serbia)
- Louisa-Christin Lippmann (national volleyball team member from Germany)
- Laura Ludwig-Bowes (Olympic champion and World Champion in beach volleyball from Germany)
- Sebastian Świderski (silver medallist at Volleyball World Championship from Poland)
- Emanuelle (Manu) Dutra Fernandes de Souza (Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger and Special Olympics Beach Volleyball player)
As part of the MOU, the FIVB and Special Olympics will now collaborate on various projects, including knowledge transfer programmes, joint sponsorship efforts, the cross promotion of athletes and working together for the development of volleyball worldwide.
FIVB President Dr Ary S. Graça F° said:
“The FIVB is delighted to join forces with Special Olympics as our shared values of inclusivity, empowerment and promoting a healthy lifestyle align perfectly. As the world’s largest inclusive sports event, the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 serves as the perfect backdrop for our partnership announcement, bringing together thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities to compete in 26 summer sports, including volleyball. At the FIVB we also strive for inclusivity on and off the court, so I am sure that, together with Special Olympics, we can further promote volleyball and its values worldwide.”
“Special Olympics International could not be more proud than to partner with the FIVB and continue the great work in growing volleyball, the #1 family sport, and contributing to the shared goal of serving the needs of families and communities through volleyball in a sport for development role. This work, across 22 Special Olympics National Programs, will continue to grow and drive the quality of volleyball for our Special Olympics Volleyball Players.”
“The FIVB and Special Olympics partnering for the best of the sport is a great milestone and I look forward to contributing further to the joint work of both organisations to promote inclusivity, a healthy lifestyle and empowerment. Volleyball is a unique sport that brings people of all ages, backgrounds, cultural and physical ability together in peaceful competition, so together the FIVB and Special Olympics can promote our sports values even more.”
Manu, Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger and Special Olympics Beach Volleyball playersaid:
“Playing volleyball give me energy and a sense of belonging because it is all about team play and trust. Everyone needs to help each other on the court so the team can achieve good results. It is not only about winning, but also building relationships and social skills that I will be using for the rest of my life. The opportunity of having partnerships like the one we now have with FIVB, will bring more people to know about and join our movement while and creating opportunities for athletes around the world to be themselves.”
Special Olympics is a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community, where every single person is accepted and welcomed, regardless of ability or disability.