Special Olympics has competitions, programs and initiatives all around the world, every day of the year. Here's a look at what it's all about.
Dana Shilts and Russel Wolff in their own screens during a zoom interview.
What are the benefits of inclusion? Just ask Russell Wolff, Executive Vice President & General Manager of ESPN+, speaking here with Special Olympics athlete Daina Shilts, who’s been part of ESPN’s broadcast team covering World Games. Russell says working with people with intellectual disabilities inspires everyone “to be more thoughtful and to be more interested in people who are different.” He adds, “[Inclusion] also makes us better at what we do every day.”
Special Olympics Korea Musical Performances
Musicians from Special Olympics Korea’s arts festival performed at the 2018 International Day of Persons with Disabilities at the United Nations.
Diaw Diop: Life is special | Conversations With My Hero
Musical artist and Special Olympics Senegal Ambassador Diaw Diop shares his story of inclusion with youth leader Khadidiatou Niang. Join us in learning how Inclusion Works! “You learn that life is special, that life offers us the opportunity to interact with children who would ordinarily be relegated to the background in our societies. With Special Olympics, one discovers the magic of children, the opportunities, their ability to adapt and become extraordinary beings. We learn. We are constantly learning with Special Olympics, and the impact this has had on me is that it has made me a better human and has inspired me to seek humanity. With Special Olympics, we gain!”
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE—Life Lesson from East Asia Youth Leaders
Unified athletes and teammates in East Asia have been experiencing the pandemic longer than anyone. Seeing better times—and more Special Olympics activities!—coming, they encourage everyone to look ahead with optimism and make hopeful plans for the future, just like they've been doing!
Andrew is a Special Olympics athlete and marathon runner, who’s become a coach. He’s worked hard to stay in great shape—and won’t let a pandemic lockdown get in the way of his training. See how he’s training other athletes, like Marcelo, to learn stamina and endurance, despite the quarantine and other restrictions.
NFL Play 60 and Special Olympics Team Up For Inclusive Fitness
The NFL Play 60 program is designed to promote healthy lifestyles for children by getting young people physically active for 60 minutes a day. Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Famer and Special Olympics Supporter Will Shields recently led an NFL Play 60 virtual workout for Special Olympics athletes in Kansas City.
STAYING FIT AT HOME—Sports Lesson from Kiera
Kiera is an unstoppable Special Olympics athlete, World Games medalist, and athlete leader from northwest England. Yet COVID-19 did stop her trainings and competitions, plus kept her away from her friends and fellow athletes. Isolation can be tough, but Kiera knew it wasn’t just tough on her. She encourages her athlete friends—and everyone else—to stay fit, despite the lockdown!
Jimmy is an accomplished athlete and athlete leader--and now a coach, referee and respected role model in South Africa. But life didn’t start out that way. Jimmy shares the importance of positive thinking to overcome stigma—and focusing on ability, not disability.
KEEPING A GREAT JOB—Work Lesson from Michel
Michel needed a job to support his mother and siblings. He had some skills, but needed to learn a lot more to become a versatile auto mechanic. He also needed to adapt to working and communicating with a variety of people. The discipline he learned through team sports also helped. Thanks to his hard work, Michel is now a valued employee, as this brief glimpse shows.
FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS—Work Lesson from Lily
From the very start, Lily had big dreams—and determination! She’s a trail-blazing young talent, who also happens to have Down syndrome. Still in her teens, she’s become a popular model & actress, most recently appearing on the Netflix series, “Never Have I Ever.” Here, she shares some tips for anyone else determined to follow their dreams.
Novie and her mother at an outdoor event standing in the bleachers.
Novie had a rough start, abandoned at birth in an inner-city hospital. Then Kelly stopped by her crib—and adopted Novie soon after. They’ve been together ever since! When Kelly fell seriously ill last year, landing her in the ICU before Christmas, Novie didn’t know how to cope. Here, she shares how she handled the crisis.
PROVING YOURSELF—Life Lesson from Youssef
Youssef saw his friends beaten and bullied, then he was beaten and bullied—all because they have intellectual disabilities. Instead of giving up, he became determined to show the world that people with ID can do anything ”if only we are given the chance.” In his own words, he inspires us to grab every opportunity to succeed, because “we are ALL able.”