Statement on Special Olympics Team Canada 2022

March 2, 2022

Special Olympics Canada (SOC) joins other sporting organizations around the world in condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, as well as with the communities of our athletes, coaches, volunteers and staff members who may have friends or family impacted by these tragic events.

With the Special Olympics World Winter Games set to be held in Kazan, Russia in January of 2023, the situation unfolding has been of great concern to us.

Throughout the past two years of preparation for these Games, we have had a Risk Assessment Team in place to ensure that any decisions SOC makes regarding Special Olympics Team Canada 2022 – whether Covid-19 related or due to geo-political risks – will be in the best interest of our athletes’, volunteers’ and staff’s health and safety.

It is with this promise that SOC and its Board of Directors have thoughtfully considered the situation and, with a heavy heart, issue the following decision:

Special Olympics Team Canada is withdrawing from the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Kazan, Russia in 2023. Our athletes deserve every opportunity to compete on the world stage and demonstrate their gifts and talents—but only while avoiding unnecessary risks to their welfare and upholding our core values of inclusion and respect.

Over the past two years, Special Olympics Team Canada 2022 has proven its resiliency time and time again. We are so proud of every athlete, coach, mission staff and staff member for the example of strength, determination, and integrity they have shown Special Olympics communities across our country.



Sharon Bollenbach
CEO, Special Olympics Canada

Charity Sheehan 
Chef de mission, Special Olympics Team Canada 2022