About Us

Special Olympics National Games 2014


"Let me win.
But if I cannot win,
let me be brave in the attempt

- Special Olympics Athlete Oath


Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organisation for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competition to nearly 4.2 million athletes in more than 170 countries.

Competitions are held every day across the world – from the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific – including the Special Olympics World Games which are held every two years.

Special Olympics has two main goals:

  • to provide sporting opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities
  • to promote greater understanding and acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities 

Facts and figures

  • Nearly 4.2 million Special Olympics athletes worldwide
  • 226 Programs around the world
  • More than 170 countries around the world
  • 32 sports worldwide 
  • 44,000 competitions annually
  • 805,000 volunteers worldwide
  • 250,000 coaches around the world

Special Olympics National Games - 2014

Melbourne has been selected to host the 10th Special Olympics National Games, running from 20 – 25 October 2014.

The National Summer Games are now held in Australia every four years, with the 2014 series set to attract more than 1,200 athletes competing in 16 sports and activities.  Athletes have qualified at State-level competitions for selection to represent their State or Territory at the 10th National Games.  

Additional initiatives include Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the Law Enforcement Torch Run, Families and Supporters activities, Healthy Athletes Program, Young Athlete demonstration, Youth Engagement and Athlete Ambassador activities.

Previous National Summer and Winter Games

  • 2011 Jindabyne, New South Wales*
  • 2010 Adelaide, South Australia 
  • 2006 Gold Coast, Queensland 
  • 2002 Sydney, New South Wales
  • 1998 Hobart, Tasmania
  • 1994 Perth, Western Australia
  • 1992 Brisbane, Queensland 
  • 1990 Melbourne, Victoria
  • 1988 Sydney, New South Wales
  • 1986 Launceston, Tasmania 

*Inaugural Special Olympics Australia National Winter Games


Our history:


In the early 1960s, Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded Camp Shriver: a day camp providing sporting activities for children with intellectual disabilities.

Mrs Kennedy Shriver had a vision - greater sporting and competition opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities – and worked with the Kennedy Foundation and members of the Chicago Park District to nationalise the Special Olympics movement.

In 1968, more than 1000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from the US and Canada attended the first International Special Olympics Summer Games, held in Soldier Field, Chicago. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially endorsed and recognised the Special Olympics in 1988.

The inaugural Special Olympics Australian National Games took place in 1986, with athletes competing in six sports in Launceston, Tasmania.

Games Fast Facts

Dates: Monday, 20 October - Saturday, 25 October 2014

Delegations: 900 athletes and officials from across Australia

Volunteers: Approximately 800 volunteers will be involved in the 2014 Games

Official sports: aquatics, athletics, basketball, bocce, equestrian, golf, gymnastics, sailing, soccer, softball, tennis, and tenpin bowling

Demonstration sports: cricket and table tennis

Exhibition events:  Young Athlete Program, Youth Activation Program - Australian Rules Football, netball



James Tomkins, Six-Time Australian Olympian

James is the nation’s most awarded oarsman. He represented Australia at six Olympic Games; 11 World Championships; four Rowing World Cups and as a state representative at the King’s Cup on 18 occasions. As a member of the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes Commission, James is committed to inspiring fellow athletes.

“I’m proud to be involved in the National Games and encourage all Australians to join me in supporting these athletes through their journey from training to competition in Melbourne in October. The Games are a joyful celebration of achievement and highlight the power of sport in overcoming differences.”

Carrie Bickmore, National Media Personality 

Carrie is the host of Network Ten’s The Project and So You Think You Can Dance Australia, earning a reputation as a multi-dimensional news talent for her ability to fuse news reporting with relaxed on-air banter. Her first break was during a work experience placement in her hometown in Perth, when she was thrust into the studio as an emergency replacement for a newsroom colleague who fell ill on the job.

“I live by the attitude that you should say yes, have a crack and not be too scared to take chances. Determination has helped me to where I am today, and I think that’s the most potent way to achieve your dreams.”

Tommy Oar, Australian Socceroo

At the tender age of 22, Tommy has already represented some of the world’s best soccer teams. He has represented both the Australian Socceroos and Dutch club, FC Utrecht. Tommy knows what it’s like to fight for a dream and is an avid supporter for showcasing athletes’ abilities, not their disabilities, in achieving sporting goals.

“I wish all athletes competing in the Special Olympics National Games the best of luck, and encourage participants to do everything they can to perform at their personal best.”