Special Olympics is founded on the belief that people with intellectual disabilities can, with proper instruction and encouragement, learn, enjoy and benefit from participation in individual and team sports.
Special Olympics believes that consistent training is essential to the development of sports skills, and that competition among those of equal abilities is the most appropriate means of testing these skills, measuring progress and providing incentives for personal growth.
Special Olympics believes that 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, is united in understanding people with intellectual disabilities in an environment of equality, respect and acceptance.
Special Olympics is an unprecedented global movement which, through quality sports training and competition, improves the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and, in turn, the lives of everyone they touch.
The Spirit of Special Olympics
On her way to the Opening Ceremonies of the first Special Olympics World Games, Eunice Kennedy Shriver wrote the final draft to an athlete oath. In front of many spectators and visitors, Shriver memorably opened the Games with these words: "In ancient Rome, the gladiators went into the arena with these words on their lips:
'Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.'
"Today, all of you young athletes are in the arena. Many of you will win, but even more important, I know you will be brave, and bring credit to your parents and to your country. Let us being the Olympics. Thank you."