About Special Olympics

Sport connects

Special Olympics is the largest inclusion movement in the world. It supports people with intellectual disabilities in achieving more social participation and aims to reduce discrimination. In addition to sport, this is also done through worldwide health, education and qualification offers. In this way, the movement helps people with intellectual disabilities on their way to more recognition and self-advocacy.

Pioneer Eunice Kennedy-Shriver

The movement was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy-Shriver, a sister of former US President John F. Kennedy.

Her sister Rosemary Kennedy's disability led her to create the Special Olympics. She made it her life's work and committed herself to inclusion in society.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver and an athlete stand next to each other, Kennedy Shriver has the athlete's arm in her hand and is holding it up. Other people can be seen in the background.

Special Olympics now has around 5 million athletes from 174 countries around the world. The enthusiasm, passion and commitment of the athletes were (and are) so extraordinary that the Special Olympics were officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1988.