Celebrating Sheffield’s 25 Years of Success


  • Special Olympics is a global organisation that provides year-round sports training and competition to over 5 million children and adults with intellectual (learning) disabilities in almost 200 countries – transforming the lives of thousands of people through the power of sport.
  • Founded in 1968 by Eunice Shriver, sister of the late President John F Kennedy, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities opportunities to realise their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience friendship.
  • Special Olympics is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the third member of the Olympic family. It is the only sports organisation authorised by the IOC to use the word ‘Olympics’ in its title.

The Special Olympics competition programme is non elite and is open to all abilities thanks to an inclusive divisioning system which offers athletes with intellectual (learning disabilities) the opportunity to compete among those with similar ability.

Any Special Olympics athlete from the age of eight has the opportunity to take part in local, regional, national and international level Special Olympics competitions in a variety of 28 sports.

The emphasis is on participation and doing your best, each event is started with the Athletes’ Oath “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

But Special Olympics is much more than Games and Competitions, at its core is the year round training provided on a voluntary basis by qualified sport coaches, here in Sheffield at present we have training sessions in 7 different sports.

2018 was a significant year in Special Olympic history, as it was 50 years since the movement was founded in the USA, the UK followed ten years later and Special Olympics Sheffield has been going for 25 years.

What We Are About

In August 1993 the National Special Olympic Games came to Sheffield, since then Special Olympics Sheffield has been growing steadily. We hold weekly training sessions in athletics, swimming, basketball and football and fortnightly in ten pin bowling, with training provided by associated clubs in boccia and table tennis.

Our athletes regularly compete in events held locally and regionally, with some athletes going on to compete nationally and internationally.

But Special Olympics is not just about achievement in sport. It also allows people to develop social contacts, skills for healthy living and a positive attitude to the challenges of life. Our athletes help inspire and motivate others in the community to take up sport and there are opportunities for participating, volunteering and coaching.