Special Olympics Alberta 35th Anniversary and Awards

Special Olympics Alberta 35th Anniversary and Awards

Special Olympics Alberta proudly to celebrated 35 years in the province at the Four Points Sheraton South on October 17.

Emcee’s Rob Williams of CTV Morning Live and Special Olympics athlete, Miranda Taylor kicked off the event with a warm welcome to 170 guests from all across Alberta which included the Special Olympics Canada CEO, Sharon Bollenbach.

Special Olympics started in Canada in 1969. Harry “Red” Foster brought the movement of Special Olympics after witnessing the inspiring abilities of athletes in Chicago Field with Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Slowly, the movement spread across Canada and made its way west in Alberta where grass roots efforts were already gaining support.

Even before the incorporation of Special Olympics Alberta on February 28,1980 (formerly known as Alberta Special Olympics), a few cities and towns operated sport programs for individuals with an intellectual disability like Calgary, Edmonton, Drumheller, Lethbridge, Olds, and Red Deer. These communities offered a few sports- bowling, athletics, swimming, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, floor hockey and speed skating. These communities were operated with grass roots efforts of families, friends, school and institutions who believed in the power of sport.


“It is these roots that built Special Olympics what it is today,” said Rob Williams. “I’m sure at that time they could not imagine how their simple acts and unwavering belief of the athletes amazing abilities would grow into a movement that inspires the world.”


Today, Special Olympics Alberta reaches over 3,000 athletes, representing over 140 communities and offers 18 Olympic style winter and summer sports.  

“We owe so much to our founding volunteers and athlete visionaries. It gives me great pride to see us honour their work by continuing to stay true to our mission and provide a chance for individuals with an intellectual disability achieve their best potential and create a more inclusive society,” say Johnny Byrne, president and CEO of Special Olympics Alberta


Continuing to honour its athletes, volunteers and coaches, Special Olympics Alberta awarded its members for their commitment, talent and support. For more photos from the fall conference and anniversary and awards celebration, check out our Facebook Album.  

Special Olympics Alberta would like to thank all our wonderful supporters for making it an amazing 35 years!




Male Athlete of the Year Award- Philipp Mullen
Female Athlete of the Year Award- Mary-Jean Lawson
Athlete Spirit Award- Alexandra Lo and Mark Mengersen
Team of the Year- Edmonton Cougars, Floor Hockey Team
Male Coach of the Year- Michael Dartnell
Female Coach of the Year- Debbie Herman
Volunteer of the Year- Linda Christensen
Rising Star Award- Amanda McCord
LETR Outstanding Contribution Award- Det. Theresa Garagan
LETR Community Spirit Award- Red Deer
MDA Community Leadership Award- Grande Prairie
Murray Koch Youth Development Award- Grande Prairie