Sport for people with intellectual disability

1300 225 762

For 40 years we have brought people with intellectual disability together with passionate volunteers to participate in weekly sports training, regular competition, fun and friendship.

Despite what many people think, we’re not the Paralympics. The Paralympics is for elite athletes, mainly with physical disability. Special Olympics is for people with intellectual disability.

At Special Olympics Australia everyone with an intellectual disability is welcome. Some participants join to have fun, make friends and enjoy the warmth of a welcoming community, while others are focussed on winning and receiving medals.

We’re not just a major sports event. Special Olympics provides year-round sports training in multiple sports as well as competition at local, state, national and international level. The pinnacle of our competition ladder is the World Games which is hosted on a four-year cycle in summer and winter sports. We also provide health and leadership programs.

Almost 600,000 Australians have an intellectual disability. They are the largest disability population in the country and the world, and in Australia another child is diagnosed with an intellectual disability every two hours.

People with intellectual disability can learn new skills and can accomplish goals. They just learn differently, or need more time or support to succeed.

Our focus is to make ability visible. Unlike physical disability, intellectual disability is sometimes invisible.

Team Australia

Our largest-ever wintersports team will compete at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria in March 2017 where they will take on 3,000 athletes from 110 countries.

Support the team

Dream Ride

If you are a car-head or bike lover sign up for the inaugural Dream Ride happening on 4 December 2016 and enjoy a festival of motorsports that will showcase and support athletes with an intellectual disability.

Sign up today

Help more athletes like Ben

Make a tax-deductible donation today so that more people with an intellectual disability are given the chance to take part in sport and achieve their personal best – in sport and in life.

Meet Ben and support our appeal

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the Joy

Through sport we allow people with an intellectual disability to demonstrate what they can do, rather what people think they can’t. Our logo tells the story of how this makes them feel:

The figure with arms limply by their side represents a person with an intellectual disability facing challenges and isolation before joining Special Olympics Australia.

The figure with arms outstretched represents a new athlete discovering their skills and gaining confidence in their ability.

The figure with arms raised in joy represents an athlete celebrating their talents and proudly receiving the applause of families, friends and fans.

The “globe of figures” represents our worldwide sporting community that values people with intellectual disability, supports their goals and celebrates their achievements.

Feel the

Athletes get fit, have fun, make friends and develop confidence through sport.

Families gain a network of support that helps them understand what’s possible which inspires hope for the future.

The public open their hearts and minds to people with an intellectual disability when they get to know them and this helps build inclusive communities.

Inclusive communities have a respect for diversity.

Corporate partners can demonstrate social responsibility, diversity, inclusion and volunteering strategies in action.

Schools and disability service providers can get their clients fit for life through tailored programs.


Inaugural Australia Dream Ride for car and bike enthusiasts. Don’t miss your chance to create history.

4 December 2016


Keep in touch


  • 30 September 2016 | Welcome to our new website. We’ve got a little more tinkering to do so if you find something that’s incorrect or not working please let us know by emailing
  • 10 September 2016 | Meet the talented finalists for the 2017 EKS Award which is presented annually to recognise an athlete leader. The winner will be announced on EKS Day on 24 September.
  • 29 August 2016 | Thank you IGA Australia stores and customers for raising over $194,000 to help us provide sport for people with an intellectual disability in local communities across the country!
  • 28 August 2016 | In 200 days, 12 Aussie athletes will compete at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. Click here to support the team.
  • 30 July 2016 | In 2016 Special Olympics Australia is celebrating it's 40th birthday! Celebrate with us and check out our 40 year history website. Click here to view the page.

Principal Partner