Skip to content

Issue #31 – Special Olympics

60’s The first International Special Olympics Summer Games were held at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, USA. A thousand people with intellectual disabilities from 26 U.S. states and Canada compete in track and field, swimming and floor hockey.


70’s An idea that started in the USA begins to spread across the globe. Stigma facing people with intellectual disabilities are slowly being replaced with respect and admiration on the playing fields and off.


The Special Olympics movement continue to grow and to gain respect in the 1980s. The International Olympic Committee signs a historic agreement the Sargent and Eunice Kennedy Shriver officially endorsing and recognizing Special Olympics.


 The first International Games are held outside the USA, as Special Olympics gains a greater global foothold. New health programs mark a turning point as well.


 The Unified Sports program grew program grew rapidly in the 2000s. People with and without intellectual disabilities teamed up in a growing number of countries worldwide.

The 2010s have seen remarkable growth in the visability and power of Special Olympics to changes lives worldwide. In the decade, our Unified Sports program exceeds 1 million participants; our Health program expands dramatically thanks to public and private investment; and the number of athletes with intellectual disabilities and Unified Sports teammates reaches 5-3 million.

1.What is the mission statement? 

Special Olympics Nevada provides athletic opportunities to children and adults with intellectual disabilities, instilling the confidence they need to succeed in life.

2. How many athletes participate in the Special Olympics?

3,050 athletes train and compete in Special Olympics.

3. SONV is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization that relies on the support of funding from individuals, organizations, corporations and foundations. SONV hosts a variety of fundraising events throughout the year, including the Polar Plunge and Law Enforcement Torch Run, and plays an active role to build mutually beneficial relationships with key donors, sponsors and members of the community. SONV also depends on the commitment of 3,445 volunteers to continue to provide sports and services in all areas.

4. What events are in Special Olympics?

Basketball, swimming, Track and Field, Bocce Ball, Softball, Soccer Bowling, Golf, Unified Flag Football, Unified Tennis

5. What qualifications are needed for athlete?

SONV is a program of choice. We never ask anyone’s disability, but we do use an unofficial standard that anyone with an IEP wouldqualify for Special Olympics Nevada. Again, I would like to state that anyone can participate in our program.

6. How do you promote a healthy lifestyle?

In order for athletes to perform at their best, both on and off the playing field, we believe promoting a healthy life style to our athletes is critical to their success. The Healthy Athletes program is dedicated to providing health services and education to Special Olympics athletes, and changing the way health systems interact with people with intellectual disabilities. All screenings are free to the athletes occur at specific competitions.

7. What is the Polar Plunge?

The Polar Plunge is a fundraising event that raises awareness for SONV by jumping into water. Participants raise a minimum of $125 to participate. This year our plunge in Las Vegas raised $41,000.

What is the tip a cop program?

Law Enforcement give a whole new meaning to “protect and serve” at Tip-A-Cop fundraisers. Officers serve as celebrity waiters at restaurants, and they donate all the tips they receive to Special Olympics. Tip-A-Cop has been a favorite way for officer to raise money, and the public loves to have the officers wait on them hand and foot.

What is L.E.T.R.?

The mission of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) in parrtnership with our communities, is to support Special Olympics Nevada through fundraising and public awareness, while enhancing the quality of life of our athletes.

10. What are the benefits for being a Special Olympics athlete?

Special Olympics provides sports training and competition to children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Our athletes are like any other athlete, they like to train, they like to compete and win or lose, they always try their best. The confidence and self-esteem they gain on the playing field carries over onto the playing field of life, helping to make them contributing members of their community. We believe that Special Olympics is more than sports, it is “Training For Life!”


Leave a Comment