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What is Special Olympics?
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Through year-round sports training and athletic competition and other related programming for more than one million children and adults with intellectual disabilities in more than 180 countries, Special Olympics has created a model community that celebrates people’s diverse gifts. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. There is no cost to participate in Special Olympics for athletes.

How many people does Special Olympics Georgia serve?
Special Olympics Georgia serves more than 24,470 athletes with intellectual disabilities in over 180 programs in 120 counties.

What is the Special Olympics Athlete Oath?
“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

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

What impact does Special Olympics have on athletes?
Children and adults with intellectual disabilities who participate in Special Olympics develop improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self-confidence and a more positive self-image. They grow mentally, socially and spiritually and, through their activities, exhibit boundless courage and enthusiasm, enjoy the rewards of friendship and ultimately discover not only new abilities and talents but “their voices” as well.

Who is eligible to participate in Special Olympics?
To be eligible to participate in Special Olympics, you must be at least 8 years old and identified by an agency or professional as having an intellectual disability.
Can individuals with profound disabilities participate in Special Olympics?
Yes, through Special Olympics Motor Activities Training Program (MATP), developed by physical educators, physical therapists and recreation therapists. MATP emphasizes training and participation rather than competition.

When are Special Olympics World and National Games held?
The Special Olympics World Summer and Winter Games are held every four years, alternating every two years. The 2013 World Winter Games were held in South Korea January 26th-February 3rd. The 2015 World Summer Games will be held in Los Angeles, California in the Summer of 2015.
National Games are also held every 4 years. In 2014, the National Games will be held in Princeton, New Jersey on June 15th-21st.

Are there differences between Special Olympics and Paralympics?
Yes, Special Olympics and the Paralympics are two separate and distinct organizations with specific eligibility requirements.