This embrace from Special Olympics GB athlete, Richard Daykin (pictured), who was competing at Special Olympics GB’s National Games in Stirling this summer, says everything about the warmth of the landmark occasion.
The Anniversary Games celebrated both Special Olympics GB’s (SOGB) 40th birthday (SOGB was founded in 1978) and also the 50th birthday of the worldwide Special Olympics global movement – set up in 1968 by President Kennedy’s sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
Special Olympics GB is the largest registered charity providing year-round sports training and competition opportunities for people with intellectual (learning) disabilities in England, Scotland and Wales and was founded in 1978. The Special Olympics GB Anniversary Games involved approximately 1,400 athletes and 400 coaches and officials – and included a number of athletes from select European countries who were also invited to take part. An estimated 2,500 family members attended these Games and access to watch all sports was – as always with Special Olympics action – free to attend.
Chris Hull of Special Olympics GB said: “We are thrilled that our Anniversary Games made such an impact in Stirling and for our athletes and families from across the country. The city of Stirling and its university’s excellent facilities hosted a tremendous and very special Anniversary Games in August which will live long in the memory of everyone that was involved.
These Anniversary Games in Stirling were about bringing people together, meeting new friends and sharing their experiences. Whether they won a gold medal or went away with a participation ribbon, the main objective was for everyone to do their best – and that fun and improvement means the world to them and to us. Sometimes that slight achievement is huge for them and we view it in the same way as a personal best for a high-profile top athlete.”
Chris explained that there were other important benefits for the participating athletes, saying: “This was also the first opportunity for some of our athletes with profound and multiple disabilities to be part of a sporting family”.
Chris has been part of Special Olympics for many years and is well placed to judge just what it gives to their athletes, and added: “People with learning disability love sport, too. Special Olympics GB helps to transform and improve the quality of the lives of people with intellectual (learning) disabilities and their families and communities through the power of sport. It’s everything for Special Olympics athletes to have been part of these games in beautiful Stirling.”
SOGB would like to express their thanks to the supporters, partners, sponsors and friends, including Able Magazine, who made our #SOG40 40th Anniversary Games so wonderful.
Special Olympics host opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities all over Great Britain. To find out about what’s happening in your area, visit: