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  • 900 x 500 Special Olympics Senegal marches in the parade of athletes in Athens

    Special Olympics in the 2010s

    As the movement continues to grow, the joy of Unified Sports is bringing together people with and without intellectual disabilities on every continent. We invite the world to come play with us -- and experience the transformative power of sports!

Building an Inclusive World

The 2010s have seen remarkable growth in the visibility and power of Special Olympics to changes lives worldwide. In the decade, our Unified Sports program exceeds 1 million participants; our Health program expands dramatically thanks to public and private investment; and the number of athletes with intellectual disabilities and Unified Sports teammates reaches 5.3 million.
The founding of the Special Olympics Healthy Communities program in 2012 fills an urgent need for care for athletes with ID around the world.

September 2010

The first global Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day is held in more than 100 countries to celebrate the vision of the founder of Special Olympics. Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day is an annual celebration of her life and a global call to action for people to live in a more unified society -- in sport, in the community and in the work place. By performing acts of inclusion, acceptance and unity for and with people with intellectual disabilities, we will continue to build on Eunice Kennedy Shriver's legacy. Learn more about Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day

NBA Cares Game in Houston
Ryan Higgins, Special Olympics athlete from Texas, keeps the ball from Special Olympics athlete Jian Gong, China and NBA legend Ron Harper.

2012: Playing With Legends

The unified basketball games held by the National Basketball Association and Special Olympics gives Special Olympics basketball players from around the world the chance to play with NBA and WNBA pros.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma addresses the summit.

January 2013

Opening of the first Special Olympics Global Development Summit. The event brings together government officials, human rights activists, as well as leaders from the sports and business worlds to explore ways to "End the Cycle of Poverty and Exclusion for People with Intellectual Disabilities." The summit is held as part of the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2013.

6 September 2013

The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and Special Olympics announce a two-year global initiative that will use the power of sports to promote an environment of social inclusion and acceptance. This effort will unite people with and without intellectual disabilities (ID) through Special Olympics Unified Sports. With a multi-million dollar financial and in-kind investment, Disney and ESPN will support Special Olympics’ goal of registering 1 million Unified Sports participants, including athletes (individuals with ID), partners (individuals without ID) and coaches by 2015.
White House Dinner for Special Olympics

July 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host “Celebration for Special Olympics and a Unified Generation” at the White House. Some of the world’s leading social activists, business leaders, sports legends and entertainers attended the event, which saluted the work of Special Olympics in engaging young people to fight inactivity, intolerance and injustice in their schools and communities.