People with intellectual disabilities are found everywhere, without regard to race, religion, political affiliation, culture, economics or social class. And their positive spirit, determination to succeed, and innate human decency make them powerful ambassadors for all people society routinely undervalues, generally ignores, or even shuns.
In Special Olympics, the athletes are the heart of the movement. Our athletes not only have the opportunity to develop physical fitness and become competitive athletes, but through sport, they build self-esteem, social skills, friendships, leadership skills, have fun and learn life lessons that translate into their lives away from the playing field, making them more productive and accepted members of society.
Special Olympics is the world’s largest program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities: it currently serves more than 4 million persons with intellectual disabilities in more than 170 countries.
Here in Florida, we currently have over 23,000 athletes who are training and competing year-round, in sports of their choice.
Special Olympics Florida offers training and competition opportunities in Olympic-type sports for athletes 8 years or older. No matter what your ability level, you can benefit from Special Olympics. And no matter what your interest, there is a sport for you. There is no charge to participate in Special Olympics.
Special Olympics is based on the belief that through sports training and competition, people with intellectual disabilities benefit physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually; families are strengthened; and the community at large, both through participation and observation, is united in understanding people with intellectual disabilities in an environment of equality, respect, and acceptance.
If you, or someone you know, has interest in participating as a Special Olympics athlete, we encourage you to contact your local Special Olympics Florida program to find out what participation and sports opportunities exist in your community.