Respecting the Game: The Story of Jackie Barrett

Special Olympics Canada has partnered with Canada's Sports Hall of Fame to launch a new curriculum-aligned national education program that will share the Special Olympics story with more Canadian youth while championing the inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in sport and in life. 

Amplifying an inspirational story that transcends time and societal barriers, this asynchronous program fosters lasting social change by connecting youth to the legacy, impact and lessons of Special Olympics athlete Jackie Barrett. 

About the Program

For 28 years, including 20 as a powerlifter, Jackie Barrett's unyielding determination has awed the world, redefining perceptions of Special Olympics athletes. Starting weightlifting during high school, he went on to claim an astonishing 20 Gold Medals at Special Olympics Canada Summer Games and a remarkable 13 Golds at World Summer Games. He retired after smashing records at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles in the Squat (611 lb.), Deadlift (656 lb.), and Triple Combo (1,538 lb.).

Shattering barriers like he broke records, Jackie Barrett became the first Special Olympics athlete inducted into the country's only national museum of sport - Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.


This asynchronous education initiative is geared towards students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 from across Canada. It is intended to be used by educators, student athletes with or without intellectual disabilities and the general public who are interested in learning more about the Special Olympics movement through Jackie Barrett’s story. 

The initiative is comprised of four ready to use virtual modules with multimodal learning strategies and innovative engagement opportunities, consisting of: 

1. Champion Chats

This module is filmed in the style of a fireside chat where Jackie Barrett shares important life lessons learned through sport, and how sport can foster lasting social change, with an emphasis on the positive impact Special Olympics Canada (SOC) has had on his life.

2. Living Legacies

This module focuses on community-building and active citizenship and the incredible contributions that Hall of Famers Jackie Barrett & Dr. Frank Hayden have made to sport in Canada. 

3. Artefacts in Action 

This module showcases artefacts that represent significant sporting achievements of Hall of Famers Jackie Barrett and Dr. Frank Hayden.

4. Body Breaks

This module fosters physical activity and literacy by providing an interactive and inclusive movement break lead by Jackie Barrett. 

Learn more about the free online education program


Join us for the Premier Launch 

Respecting the Game: The Story of Jackie Barrett Premiere Launch event will be live streamed on December 6, 2023, at 1pm ET. 

Learn more and register