If you have an intellectual disability you can play sport with Special Olympics Australia. If you want to experience joy you can volunteer. If you love sports you can become a coach.
Athletes get involved in Special Olympics Australia for various reasons. Some want to have fun and make friends, others want to be part of a community and some are going for gold. We can offer all that because we cater for everyone with an intellectual disability whatever their dream, and we uphold the highest ideals of sportsmanship and conduct regardless of aspirations.
Special Olympics Australia would not exist without volunteers who have been giving their time and talent to bring sport to people with intellectual disability for over 40 years. They are the backbone of the movement and can be found in roles at all levels of the organisation. They are our coaches, trainers, officials, event organisers, fundraisers, administrators and community leaders. Some give their time at a local club on a weekly basis, others participate at events when needed and there are many more that are on call to help out wherever needed, and they’re pretty happy.
Search for your nearest club by entering your postcode below:
Coaches play a significant role in the lives of athletes by providing the instruction, support and encouragement that will bring out their best, both on and off the sporting field. They are role models, character builders and community leaders who bring enthusiasm and positivity to every training session and competition. In return, athletes reward their coaches with their determination, commitment and joy.
Want to learn more about coaching people with an intellectual disability? Click here to see our Online Coaching Course.
2. Find a club/sport:
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Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.
In the name of all the coaches and in the spirit of sportsmanship, I promise that we will act professionally, respect others, and ensure a positive experience for all. I promise to provide quality sports and training opportunities in a safe environment for all athletes.
“When Martin was born we had all these dreams for him, but when the doctor told us that he had a disability and not to expect too much from him, all those dreams were quickly shattered. We were devastated. What would the future hold?”
Martin was born with Down syndrome. But he wasn’t going to let a disability stop his future prospects. When Martin represented Australia at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles in 2015 he realised a life-long dream to wear the green and gold. And 34 years after his mum had been told not to expect too much from him, she was there in the crowd cheering him on. He did everyone proud returning home with four gold, two silver and one bronze medal in gymnastics.
Martin’s parents knew the value of sport so they enrolled him in a mainstream swimming program, but as his mum says, “He was not really included. He was put at the end of the group and just told to follow the others. We tried other sports too, but same story.” After many setbacks Martin’s parents finally found Special Olympics Australia when Martin was 12. He immediately fell in love with sport and was embraced by a supportive sporting community where he felt encouraged and accepted.
Martin’s mother believes Special Olympics Australia was Martin’s lifesaver. He has since represented Queensland at five Special Olympics Australia National Games in swimming, basketball, athletics and gymnastics and this year fulfilled his dream to represent
Australia at an international level. What Martin discovered is that Special Olympics Australia provides more than just sport and competition. It offers a welcoming environment where volunteers accept and encourage everyone’s individual skills. It provides opportunities for fun and friendship to a group of people who are often isolated or ignored.