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'A Very Special Christmas' all about the Special Olympics


Puerto Rico overcoming hardships of Hurricane Maria

After the devastation of Hurricane Maria, coach Omar Alvarez and the Special Olympics community in Puerto Rico have worked hard to rebuild and work toward making the 2019 World Games in Abu Dhabi.


Sign the Inclusion Pledge and choose to include

The first Special Olympics Games debuted in the summer of 1968, and now 50 years later, we encourage you to #ChooseToInclude people with intellectual disabilities.

stories to remember

50 Game Changers

Best Buddies brings diversity to the workplace

Best Buddies helps people with intellectual disabilities find jobs. Peter Mullin, an employee of the Washington Wizards, is just one person who has benefited from the program.


How one woman changed Senegal's view on intellectual disabilities

Rajah Diouri Sy's daughter Khadija was born with Down syndrome, but through their involvement in the Special Olympics, they are breaking down the stigma around intellectual disabilities.


Making the world a better place

50 Game Changers

Ken Melvin more than just a Special Olympics athlete

Ken Melvin dreamed of serving his country in the military, but because of his intellectual disability, he couldn't pass the test to get in. With the help of Special Olympics and his family, he gained the confidence and support he needed to try again.


Actor McGinley a parent with a megaphone

Three high-profile parents with the personal experience of raising a child with an intellectual disability are sharing a larger game-changing message of acceptance and understanding with sports as an integral component.


Mohapatra making life-changing difference with swimming

Arpita Mohapatra has made it her personal mission to give swim lessons to as many people as she can, especially those with intellectual disabilities.


More to watch

Healthy Athletes helping people with intellectual disabilities

A healthcare program founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Dr. Steve Perlman over 20 years ago was a game changer and life saver for so many. ESPN contributor and Special Olympics International Global Messenger Dustin Plunkett reports.


Thornton leading the life no one thought he could have

Ricardo Thornton's life has been one of inspiration and consistently proving doubters wrong.


Unified flag football gives Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry new chapter

Before Michigan recently took on Notre Dame in college football, the school's Unified flag football teams played a friendly game.


Andre Drummond and the Kennedy Panthers

Andre Drummond shows his connection to and impact on a Special Olympics basketball team that plays just 35 miles from the Detroit Pistons' home court.


What to watch: Game Changers

Jamie Brewer is a game changer

Jamie Brewer is changing the landscape for those with Down Syndrome, acting in movies and on Broadway, modeling and working to change legislature language in Texas against the "R" word.


SOfit is a health and wellness program for everyone

At Special Olympics Minnesota, Ben Swarts created and worked with Special Olympics Health Ambassador Nell Coonen-Korte on a program that could involve all people and would spread worldwide.


La Casa de Carlota is a business of change

La Casa de Carlota is a successful design studio with a client list that includes a professional soccer league comprised of people with intellectual disabilities, and they have a very unique characteristic that really sets them apart from most companies.


ESPN Honor Roll

Top 5 Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools

ESPN's Top 5 Unified Champion Schools for 2018

Which Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools made the Top 5 in the ESPN Honor Roll? See who the winners are here.

Which schools will receive national banner presentations?

Kevin Negandhi reveals the five Special Olympics Unified Champion schools that will receive a national banner presentation.


Keep watching: Game Changers

Charles' biggest impact comes off the football field

Jamaal Charles has always had an enormous impact on the football field, but growing up with a learning disability that limited his relationships, Jamaal found his truest comfort in a community far away from the locker rooms.


Gerald Mballe is paying it forward

Gerald Mballe fled his home in Cameroon to escape violence and hardship. Arriving in a strange land, his path to acceptance would come in a most unexpected way.


The will and determination of Danielle Liebl

Danielle Liebl defies the odds every day, after being told she would never walk again without assistance. Sign the pledge:


50 Game Changers: Kennedys' family connection to the Special Olympics

The relationship between Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her sister Rosemary Kennedy was the root of the entire Special Olympics movement. Sign the pledge:


Special Olympics turns 50

The personal side of Special Olympics for Tim Shriver

As the Special Olympics turns 50 years old today, Tim Shriver -- chairman of the organization and son of founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver -- reflects on the beginning of the movement and where he sees it in another 50 years.

Shriver: 'I hope people see that everybody has a gift'

Special Olympics chairman Tim Shriver reflects on a culture that hasn't always been big on inclusion and expresses his hope that it changes.


Unified Cup

Athletes at Special Olympics Unified Cup overcome their 'impossibles'

Sarah Spain sits down with Special Olympics athlete Emanuelle Dutra Souza and Olympic bobsled driver and Special Olympics ambassador for Nigeria and Africa Seun Adigun to discuss how they found the strength to overcome obstacles in their lives.


USA Games wraps up

The Faces of the Victors

There is experience and camaraderie of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, but there is also the many stories behind the winners' smiles. Here, we share a few of them.

Athlete living every day by the Special Olympics oath

For paddle boarder Mariah Gilbert, the Special Olympics oath holds a special place in her heart, one that represents the changes in her life.


Special Olympics allow father, son to bond during trying times

For Chris and Ray Harold, their time on the golf course at the Special Olympics USA Games, goes beyond golf. It's about savoring every last moment together.


Ready to be inspired?

Tagliareni a role model for all athletes

Special Olympics Florida athlete Brittany Talgliareni followed her brother into tennis and hasn't looked back since.


Lapre: 'I'm never quitting'

A Special Olympics athlete since 1968, Paul Lapre will be living out a dream by playing in this year's games in Seattle.


Powerlifter Gruss makes a habit of overcoming odds

Special Olympics powerlifter Catherine Gruss has overcome many challenges and doubters en route to competing in Seattle.


special olympics

Poll's positive spirit an asset for UWM

As both a manager and super-fan for multiple University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee teams, Michael Poll has left a lasting mark on everyone he's met.


USA Games

From Special Olympics play to the workplace

Special Olympics International Global Messenger David Egan says, "I am proud to have a job; I pay taxes, I vote and I matter." And he's sharing that message at the job fair at the USA Games.

Photos: The moments that show Special Olympics athletes are unstoppable

The Special Olympics USA Games have been full of dramatic and inspirational finishes. But these moments and stories are the ones we will not forget.

Ex-NFL OT Roberts is a champion for Special Olympics athletes

Ray Roberts used to open pathways for Barry Sanders as an offensive tackle for the Detroit Lions. Now he's helping create pathways for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

In the words of athletes

USA Games

The Schmidts are all in the family

Mike Schmidt felt right at home when he started playing Special Olympics sports. Since then, his two brothers and his parents have joined him on the basketball court -- and they're all headed to the USA Games.

For Special Olympics swimmer Jessica Grammer, 'dreams do come true'

When Jessica Grammer learned she was going to the USA Games, she screamed a celebratory 'Yes!' And her swimming prowess isn't the only thing she contributes to Team Missouri.

'I matter, I exist, and I have a right to play,' says Tyler Lagasse

For Special Olympics athlete Tyler Lagasse, golf is more than a sport. It's a chance to send the world a message -- and change perspectives.

FOudy's Finds

USA Games

Foudy's Finds: Special Olympics athlete has run 30 marathons

Julie Foudy goes for a run with Special Olympics athlete Andy Bryant who was once told he would never be able to walk across the street by himself. Now he's an elite marathon runner.


Foudy's Finds: Fab Five

Members of the Kentucky Special Olympics Gymnastics team receive uplifting messages from their Olympic heroes.


Shining in water and on land


A fish called JoJo

Jolina Harris, affectionately called JoJo by her family, was drawn to the water as a young child. The ocean was her playground -- and her solace. Now a 12-year-old, she finds that peace in the pool as a Special Olympics swimmer.

JoJo Harris finds peace in the water

Growing up in the Marshall Islands, JoJo Harris was always drawn to the water. After relocating to Las Vegas, JoJo joined the UNLV swim program and will now compete at the Special Olympics.


Meet Divine Pearl Navalta, aka The Sparkling Diva

The Special Olympics runner earned that nickname from her friends because of her fun, outgoing personality -- and now at the USA Games, she's channeling that energy on the track to win gold.

Special Olympics USA Games: Latest Video

Inside the fan zone at the Special Olympics

Daina Shilts explores the fan zone at the Special Olympics and takes part in several of the activities.


Special Olympics gold medalist gets emotional after win

Victoria Smith, who won gold in the 100M freestyle, says you can compete regardless of one's disability and explains what her mom means to her.


Shilts: Special Olympics' inclusion is 'special to me'

Daina Shilts is excited to join ESPN's coverage of the Special Olympics to share the event's message of inclusion.


Positive vibes at Special Olympics Opening Ceremony

Daina Shilts catches the positive vibes at the Special Olympics Opening Ceremony.


ride and sharing

USA Games

Blind Special Olympics athlete Ben Collins showed me his worldview

Ben Collins can see only shadows and shapes, and he handles with aplomb a commute from Maryland to Washington, D.C., to work at the Special Olympics headquarters.

Collins: 'Don't underestimate me in sports and in life'

As both a manager and super-fan for multiple University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee teams, Michael Poll has left a lasting mark on everyone he's met.


A powerlifter's story

USA Games

Seth Hanchey's marks of strength

A catastrophic accident took so much from Seth Hanchey, including his ability to speak. Special Olympics weightlifting gave so much back: the motivation to recover, the drive to compete, the power to inspire. Here, his mother tells his story.

Seth Hanchey mending body and soul through powerlifting

After being struck by a vehicle and suffering a severe brain injury in 2011, Seth Hanchey has made a remarkable recovery and is competing in powerlifting at the Special Olympics.


What to Watch

USA Games

Special Olympics all about love and inclusion

Special Olympics athletes give first-hand accounts of both how they are treated and how they want to be treated.


Drummond delivers heartfelt message to Special Olympics athletes

Pistons center Andre Drummond shares a bond with the Detroit-based Special Olympics Michigan basketball team.


Griffin, Spieth among famous faces in Unified Sports Challenge

Jen Lada explains how the Special Olympics Unified Sports Challenge brought together a variety of athletes for a great cause.


USA Games: Born to run

Special Olympics athlete Andrew Peterson was born to run

When Andrew Peterson's father adopted him at 5 years old, the boy could barely hold a fork. He just needed someone to believe in him -- and now the marathon runner does the rest.

SC Featured: Special Olympics runner deserves your respect

Born with fetal alcohol syndrome, 25-year-old Andrew Peterson became a three-time Special Olympics gold medalist after his father helped him find his voice and passion.


USA Games: Preview

July 1-6

The Special Olympics are a family affair for the Oehlmans

Dustin and Danielle Oehlman met at a Special Olympics practice nearly 20 years ago. Now, with their children cheering them on, they're headed to the USA Games (July 1-6) in Seattle.

USA Games: How to watch, news and coverage

Find the details, news coverage and results for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games

ESPYS: Arthur Ashe Award

Acceptance and inclusion key to Kennedy Shriver's life


Full list of 2017 ESPYS winners

The 2017 ESPYS celebrates the best in sports, with awards given by the fans.

Joe Faraoni/ESPN

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