The delegation by Great Britain with 157 athletes for their World Summer Games ths Athnes 2011

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Special Olympics World Games offer a world stage to showcase the Special Olympics movement and to celebrate
the abilities and accomplishments of people with learning disabilities. In doing so, they foster a new global vision of acceptance.

The 13th Special Olympics World Summer Games will take place in Athens, Greece from 25 June – 4 July 2011.

7,500 Special Olympics athletes from 185 nations and all ability levels will compete in 22 Olympic-type sports.
25,000 volunteers will be on hand to ensure the Games run smoothly.

Special Olympics GB has selected a team of 215 delegates to represent Great Britain in Athens, including:

  • 157 athletes
  • 57 volunteer head coaches and coaches
  • 4 Unified Partners and
  • 9 management and support staff

Meet the Team

Special Olympics GB athletes will be competing in 17 sports – Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Cycling, Equestrian, Football (including Unified Football), Golf, Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics, Judo, Kayaking, Powerlifting, Sailing, Table Tennis and Tennis.

For the latest information on the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2011, please visit the Official Website of the Games.

For media enquiries, please contact the Special Olympics GB PR department on 0782 777 7938.

For information on sponsorship opportunities or to make a donation to the Special Olympics GB Team, please contact Karen Wallin.

For general information on the Special Olympics GB Team going to Athens, please contact the National Office on 0207 247 8891.

The Birth of Special Olympics GB

Chris Maloney MBE founded Special Olympics in Great Britain (then known as Special Olympics UK) in 1978.
Chris had been teaching swimming to people with learning disabilities since the early 1960s. In 1976, after reading a book entitled Times to Remember by Rose Kennedy (mother of John F. Kennedy and Eunice Kennedy Shriver), Chris sent a letter about his work to the author, who passed it on to her daughter Eunice.
Chris Maloney receives first certificate from late Eunice Shirver KennedyEunice Shriver enlisted Chris Maloney to develop the Special Olympics programme in the UK and with help from Sir Hugh Fraser and Sir Eldon Griffiths (then Minister for Sport), he paved the way for a legacy of support for Special Olympics across the country.
Special Olympics in the UK was one of the first European programmes of the international Special Olympics Movement. Today, Special Olympics GB serves 8,000 athletes and 2,800 volunteers in 135 clubsacross Great Britain.
For more information on our history, read A Sporting Chance: The History of Special Olympics Great Britain.

Our Mission

At Special Olympics GB, our mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with learning disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of skills, gifts and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Our Mission

We aim to:

  • Provide quality sports training 48 weeks per year to encourage fitness, commitment and discipline through sport
  • Provide as many Special Olympics athletes as possible, with the opportunity to participate, train and compete
    in a wide variety of sports and events
  • Provide quality coaching
  • Help athletes develop social skills and build friendships through the interaction and team spirit of their sports training
    and competition
  • Provide athletes with the experience of new cultures when travelling abroad
  • Encourage athletes to compete and participate for the fun of it, rather than focus on winning
  • Promote the inclusion of people with a learning disability in mainstream sport

There are an estimated 1.2 million people with a learning disability in Great Britain.

The number of adults with a learning disability is predicted to increase 14% by 2021.*

Source: Emerson & Hatton (2008) People with Learning Disabilities in England. Lancaster University.



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