The Special Olympics Movement

Special Olympics is the first organization dedicated to the development through sport of people living with mental disabilities. The Special Olympics movement was created in the United States in 1968. Established in nearly 180 countries, Special Olympics brings together more than 4 million athletes. It benefits from the recognition of the IOC.

In France, Special Olympics works with a network of partners to offer children, adolescents and adults the opportunity to experience the joy of sport. Special Olympics France is a 1901 law association, recognized as being of public utility. Its financing is based on private generosity; it does not benefit from public subsidies.

Changing society's view of mental disability

There are 700,000 people with mental disabilities in France. Each year, between 6,000 and 8,500 children are born with an intellectual disability. Along with families, there are several million people who are concerned and affected in their lives, and who remain invisible to the eyes of society.

The ambition of Special Olympics is to enable as many children, young people and adults with mental disabilities as possible to experience the joy of sport. By increasing the number of sporting events, we also want to change society's view of disability.

Thrive through sport

Sport is a fantastic vector of development and social recognition. It develops self-esteem, confidence, courage. It creates moments of sharing. It reveals that people with intellectual disabilities are capable of accomplishing great and beautiful things in their lives.

Inspired by the vision of Pierre de Coubertin, Special Olympics opens sport to everyone, without elitism.

Everyone, according to their desires and abilities, has the opportunity to participate in training or a sporting event.

- Special Olympics France - Special Olympics Switzerland - Special Olympics Canada - Special Olympics Belgium - Special Olympics Côte d'Ivoire -


Special Olympics Europe Eurasia
Senior Marketing & Communications Manager
Special Olympics

Organisation contributions

Contact Information

Sports structure

1133 19th Street NW
Washington DC, WA 20036-3604
United States

Focus Areas

All regions
All countries
Sustainable Development Goal
10 – Reduced inequalities
All sports
Target group
People with Disabilities