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True Sportsmanship
Author Unknown

Special Olympics

A few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all
physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the
100-yard dash.

At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish
to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little
boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began
to cry.

The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back.
Then they all turned around and went back....every one of them.

One girl with Down's Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, "This
will make it better." Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the
finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for
several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story.

Why? Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life
is more than winning for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping
others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.

Take me back the story page please

How can you get invovled in the Special Olympics?

Call the Special Olympics at (202) 628-3630, or find a number for your local office on the Special Olympics Web site. Click here to find out more

Participate by training Special Olympics members.

Volunteer at competitions.

Build support for the Special Olympics through public awareness and at schools nationwide.

Help fundraise for the Special Olympics.

What are the Special Olympics

Taken from:

Special Olympics is an international nonprofit organization* dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition. Special Olympics offers children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round training and competition in 26 Olympic-type summer and winter sports. There is no charge to participate in Special Olympics. (*Special Olympics is recognized as a tax-exempt organization under U.S. Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).)

Special Olympics offers children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round training and competition in 26 Olympic-type summer and winter sports.
  • Note that Special Olympics and the Paralympics are two separate and distinct organizations. Curious about the difference between the two?

Special Olympics currently serves more than 2.25 million persons with intellectual disabilities in more than 200 Programs in more than 150 countries. Those numbers are the result of an overwhelmingly successful Campaign for Growth that began in 2000. That year, Special Olympics made a bold commitment to reach 2 million athletes by the end of 2005, while simultaneously changing attitudes about people with intellectual disabilities around the world. Over the course of those five years, in addition to providing more than 1 million more athletes the opportunity to experience the joy of sport, Special Olympics transformed itself.
     Read The Heart of Growth, an article by Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver on the success of The Campaign for Special Olympics.

Today, Special Olympics stands as a leader in the field of intellectual disability. It is a truly global movement, with more than 500,000 athletes in China, more than 210,000 in India, almost 550,000 in the United States, more than 600 in Afghanistan and 4,400 athletes in Rwanda. Special Olympics World Games were held in Ireland in 2003 and Japan in 2005 and, in 2008 , China will host the World Summer Games. Most importantly, Special Olympics sharpened the focus on its mission as not just "nice," but critical, not just as a sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities, but also as an effective catalyst for social change.

Children and adults with intellectual disabilities who participate in Special Olympics develop improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self-confidence and a more positive self-image. They grow mentally, socially and spiritually and, through their activities, exhibit boundless courage and enthusiasm, enjoy the rewards of friendship and ultimately discover not only new abilities and talents but "their voices" as well.

To get involved, contact your local Special Olympics Program. To locate a Program near you, use our Program Locator


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