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Special Olympics is a global organization that serves athletes with intellectual disabilities working with hundreds of thousands of volunteers and coaches each year. Since the establishment of Special Olympics in 1968, the number of people with and without intellectual disabilities who are involved with the organization has been growing, but the unmet need to reach more people with intellectual disabilities is staggering. 

The Power of Sport. For every Special Olympics athlete, there are many more waiting for their chance. Help us reach one more person who wants to participate. Download Program Fact Sheet

It’s at the local level--right here--where interested volunteers meet the athletes. That’s where the perceptions start to change and where the miracle of transformation takes place. Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Those activities give them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship.

Sports Offered


News and Stories


September 20, 2017 | North America: Louisiana

Meet SOLA athlete, Cayla Lane

By Derek Lane

A photo of Cayla Lane

Cayla Lane entered life as a micro preemie, at one pound thirteen ounces. She was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and she underwent nineteen brain surgeries. The doctors were very doubtful that she would be able talk, walk, or even run. She proved them wrong! By the time Cayla was nine, she had to haView Story Cayla Lane entered life as a micro preemie, at one pound thirteen ounces. She was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and she underwent nineteen brain surgeries. The doctors were very doubtful that she would be able talk, walk, or even run. She proved them wrong! By the time Cayla was nine, she had to have surgery to remove her tibia, and she bounced back! Cayla is now a senior in high school taking all regular education classes and enjoys working with physical fitness themed classes. Although Cayla has had many hurdles to overcome, she has been competing with Special Olympics Louisiana for over six years in power lifting, bocce, track and field, bowling, and swimming. She always brings a smile to every competition. When Cayla initially began swimming she could not even pull her arm out of the water, and now she does the backstroke! Upon graduation Cayla plans to attend a college, possibly majoring in general studies.

About Derek Lane:SOLA
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August 30, 2017 | North America: Louisiana

Unified Rivalry Series Heads Back to Louisiana

By Casey Minton

This year’s Unified Rivalry Flag Football Game between Nicholls State University and McNeese State University is sure to be one for the books!View Story This year’s Unified Rivalry Flag Football Game between Nicholls State University and McNeese State University is sure to be one for the books! The game will be played on Thursday, August 31st at the Nicholls State University soccer fields just outside of Guidry Stadium. Special guests include Dr. Bruce Murphy, University President, the Nicholls State band, dance team, cheerleaders, and even their mascot! Immediately after the game, all athletes, unified partners and family members will attend the Nicholls State University Alumni Association’s tailgate followed by the collegiate game between the two divisional rivals. An athlete from both the McNeese and Nicholls unified flag football team will be represented on the field during the coin toss of the football game. Special Olympics Louisiana is excited to build these partnerships with two of our Unified Champion Schools universities. Join us to cheer on the teams!

About Casey Minton:Director of Communications & Marketing for Special Olympics Louisiana
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July 19, 2017 | North America: Louisiana

Louisiana Athlete Receives Honorary ESPY

By Casey Minton

Special Olympics Louisiana athlete Craig Blackburn was presented with an honorary ESPY Award on 12 July.View Story To honor her work and her creation of Special Olympics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver was posthumously honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at The 25th ESPYS Presented by Capital One on Wednesday, July 12.As part of the 25th annual ESPYS event, Special Olympics athletes around the United States were honored with local ESPY Awards. These honorees were recognized by the ESPYS organizers and their Programs as “amazing, inspirational athletes.” Each athlete received a letter of commendation, along with an ESPYS statuette.Special Olympics Louisiana athlete, Craig Blackburn, of Metairie, LA was one of those few honorees. Blackburn is a 38 year old athlete who competes in bowling, bocce, aquatics, and basketball. He has participated in Special Olympics for over twenty years.“Don't ever give up. Winning the ESPY shows that success does come in trying!” he said.Blackburn is also a devoted Winn Dixie Supermarket employee of 18 years, owns his own home, and is married. In addition to competing regularly, Blackburn also serves on Special Olympics Athlete Leadership Council.

About Casey Minton:I am the Director of Comms & Marketing for Special Olympics Louisiana
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2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games

Athens, Greece, was the home of the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games. That year, it was the world’s largest sporting event for athletes with intellectual disabilities. See results by athlete, delegation and bib number.

Areas Served

The parishes of Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Cameron, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, De Soto, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, Iberia, Iberville, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Jefferson, La Salle, Lafayette, Lafourche, Lincoln, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Orleans, Ouachita, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Tensas, Terrebonne, Union, Vermilion, Vernon, Washington, Webster, West Baton Rouge, West Carroll, West Feliciana, Winn