Please join us in congratulating pioneer of the Special Olympics movement, Dr. Frank Hayden!
Dr. Hayden was appointed an Officer of the order of Canada in 1999 – today he received a promotion within the Order to Companion, the highest level a recipient can receive for Canada’s highest civilian honour.
The incredible work of Dr. Frank Hayden has fundamentally changed the sport landscape in Canada and around the world. His ground-breaking research on the impact of fitness and sport on individuals with intellectual disabilities caught the attention of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and sparked the global Special Olympics movement.
His research challenged the prevailing mindset of the day – one that claimed that it was the disability itself that prevented children from fully participating in play and recreation. Through rigorous scientific method, Dr. Hayden proved that it was simply a lack of opportunity to participate. Given that opportunity, people with an intellectual disability could acquire the necessary skills to participate in sport and become physically fit.
In other words: sport could have a transformative effect on the lives of those with an intellectual disability.