Special Olympics is humanity’s greatest classroom, where lessons of ability, acceptance and inclusion are taught on the fields of competition by our greatest teachers – the athletes”
Special Olympics Canada
Special Olympics International
Special Olympics Ontario
To provide year-round sports training and athletic competition for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Special Olympics promotes opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and develop skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympic athletes and the community.
Over the past 40 years Special Olympics has grown from a modest program serving local athletes to become the world’s largest movement dedicated to promoting respect, acceptance, inclusion, and human dignity for people with intellectual disabilities through sports.
The purpose of this article is to bring attention and information of this great program that is available in most communities. The benefits are great whether you are an athlete, coach, support staff or volunteer. Your life will be enriched and forever changed.
Last summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer for the 2010 Special Olympics Summer Games held here in London, ON. It was a time I’ll never forget!
London did an amazing job hosting and it showed in the faces and comments of the coaches, athletes and support staff.
The games created fun times and proud moments for the athletes, their teams and friends and family. Many achieved goals, broke personal records and made new records for themselves and/or their teams.
Meeting so many wonderful people, athletes, coaches, support staff and other volunteers made this experience so amazing! The athletes were the best!!
An Uncle of mine coaches a couple of the teams in Halifax. When we have our family reunions they always consist of a softball game between the family and the athletes. It’s something everyone looks forward to every year. On top of that is a yearly BBQ my Uncle holds for them and many of the family are there to lend a hand in the preparations and happenings of the day.
There are 14 sports, and many Athletes do more than one!
- 5 Pin Bowling
- 10 Pin Bowling
- Alpine Skiing
- Athletics (Track and Field)
- Figure Skating
- Floor Hockey
- Nordic Skiing
- Rhythmic Gymnastics
- Speed Skating
There are Regional, Provincial, National and World Games held. Provincial Games are held on a rotating basis over a four-year period. National Games are held every 2 years on a rotating basis. Athletes are selected from national competition to advance to World Games also held every two years on a rotating winter and summer basis.
Listed below are links to the District sites for Special Olympics, followed by a link to find Special Olympic programs by Community.
Central Ontario District - http://central.specialolympicsontario.ca/
Eastern Ontario District - http://east.specialolympicsontario.ca/
GTA District Site – http://gta.specialolympicsontario.ca/
Northern Ontario District - http://north.specialolympicsontario.ca/
South Central District - http://southcentral.specialolympicsontario.ca/
South West District - http://southwest.specialolympicsontario.ca/
Special Olympic Programs by Community - http://directory.specialolympicsontario.ca/Community-Programs/
Special Olympics are proud to be affiliated with The Ontario Law Enforcement Torch Run.
The Ontario Law Enforcement Torch Run is a community-based, province-wide event that sees the “Flame of Hope” carried across Ontario by members of law enforcement agencies from across the province. The objective of this and other events is to raise funds for and awareness of the Special Olympics movement in Ontario.
The Ontario Law Enforcement Torch Run is making a difference by raising funds for Special Olympics Ontario, and all funds raised are directed into community Special Olympics programs. As well, the torch run involves law enforcement personnel in a community based, province wide program. The torch run sets up community partnerships with sponsors, Special Olympics volunteers and local supporters, to reach a shared vision of helping athletes.
Special Olympics Ontario uses the funds raised to support three major initiatives:
- Competition funding for communities hosting provincial and regional competitions, including travel and registration costs
- Staff support, including SOO field staff
- Support grants to new programs, competitions such as Hometown Games and programs in need, which amounts to approximately $250,000 per year
The Special Olympics Programs are an amazing opportunity for youth and young adults to participate in a sport of their liking (some more than 1 or 2), make some great friendships, feel pride and accomplishment, attend some great social events, and enjoy new opportunities.
The joy and smiles on all of the Athletes faces is infectious and you can’t help but be taken in as you are surrounded by the warmth, happiness and pride!
Take a few moments to read some of the testimonials from the Athletes, coaches and family at the following link.
If you would like to become a volunteer for Special Olympics, here is where to start!
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/specialolympicsontario
Youtube – http://www.youtube.com/specialolympicson