Our movement’s true power lies in its ability to create change in the lives of the children, youth and adults registered in our programs, and in the communities in which they live. For people with an intellectual disability, Special Olympics is often the only place where they have an opportunity to develop a strong belief in themselves. Through Special Olympics, they begin to see themselves differently. Whether by stepping onto the ice or onto the track, they now see themselves as athletes who can do so much more.
Health and Lifestyle Benefits
Our research tell us that, when compared with individuals with an intellectual disability who are not engaged in Special Olympics, our athletes experience the following health and lifestyle benefits:
- 10% fewer athletes who are obese or overweight, vs average individuals with an intellectual disability;
- 20% fewer athletes with anxiety disorders due to access to sport, vs average individuals with an intellectual disability;
- Improved lifespan, and significantly improved overall health for Special Olympics athletes;
- 16% higher employment rate for Special Olympics athletes, vs average individuals with an intellectual disability.
Our programs provide participants with physical fitness and conditioning; improved balance, coordination and body control; increase in sport skills and competitive skills; and an increase in self-confidence and social skills. But Special Olympics is about much more than sports and fitness.
Special Olympics is a catalyst for social change.
Special Olympics programs help:
- Instill confidence, self-esteem and other life skills in our athletes;
- Contribute to healthier athletes with life-long physical fitness habits;
- Change attitudes and create a more inclusive society;
- Strengthen communities.