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Our Philosophy, Vision Statement & Guiding Principles


Special Olympics is founded on the beliefs that:

  • People with intellectual disabilities can, with proper instruction and encouragement, learn, enjoy and benefit from participation in an individual or team sport.
  • Consistent training is essential to the development of sports skills.
  • Competition among those of equal abilities is the most appropriate means of testing skills, measuring progress and providing incentives for personal growth.
  • Through sports training and competition, people with intellectual disabilities benefit physically, mentally, socially and spiritually; families are strengthened; and the community at large, both through participation and observation, comes to understand, respect and accept people with intellectual disabilities in an environment of equality.


The vision of Special Olympics is to help bring Special Olympics athletes into the larger society under conditions whereby they are accepted and given the chance to become useful and productive citizens.


  • Training programs and competitive events are open to all people with intellectual disabilities.
  • Special Olympics programs include sports events and activities that are appropriate for the age and ability of each athlete.
  • Special Olympics ensures an equal chance for each athlete to excel in training and competition in every event, when relevant, by grouping by ability, age, and gender.

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