The Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi (March 14-21) was the biggest World Games to date and included excellent performances from Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB) athletes.

SOGB sent a squad of 128 athletes, its biggest delegation of athletes ever to compete in the World Games with athletes from all over England, Scotland and Wales, competing across 17 sports.

The Great Britain team competed strongly and came home with 169 medals, 63 of them gold.

The Special Olympics World Summer Games is a multi-sport event for athletes with (learning) intellectual disabilities. Held in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, it was the first Special Olympics games to take place in the Middle East and the largest sports and event of the year, featuring 200 nations, more than 7,000 athletes and 20,000 registered volunteers.

Changing attitudes

The host nation was a significant choice and shows how attitudes towards learning (intellectual) disabilities) are changing across the globe. Following its national policy, the United Arab Emirates came up with the term: ‘People of determination’ to describe people with intellectual disabilities.

CEO of SOGB, Michelle Carney said: “I had the unbelievable honour of leading out Team SOGB with Lord Coe, at the Opening Ceremony. It was without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest moment of my career to date. I started this incredible role as CEO of Special Olympics GB in August 2018, and nine months later I am walking out shoulder to shoulder with a team of incredible athletes, volunteers, coaches and supporters on a global stage… walking out into an incredible arena in front of over 55,000 spectators, 7,500 athletes from across the globe and nearly 20,000 volunteers….and not forgetting the worlds’ media. A sea of positivity, of pride and of immense joy.”

Get involved

Special Olympics host opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities all over Great Britain. To find out about what’s happening in your area, visit:

Closer to Home…

The first ever Special Olympics Unified Mile, takes place in London on 26 May 2019. It promises to be a real family occasion where you can meet and run alongside SOGB incredible athletes and a sprinkling of some famous faces too.

Special Olympics Great Britain has partnered with London Marathon Events to launch the event.

The event will be a part of the Vitality Westminster Mile, the world’s largest timed mile, taking place on a spectacular course that starts on The Mall and finishes in front of Buckingham Palace. Every finisher gets a medal and a goody bag.

The Special Olympics Unified Mile is open to anyone – runners and non-runners. Just like the Special Olympics movement itself, this event is not about elite sport. Running, walking, skipping or jumping are all acceptable ways to complete the mile.

Everyone is welcome to join the Special Olympics athletes, their families, friends and supporters in what will be a truly inclusive experience for all.

Register at: