ESPN and Special Olympics teamed up on a yearlong storytelling initiative called Game Changers. From athletes to coaches and parents to programs, this broadcast and digital series showcases game changers and game changing that helped propel the inclusion movement. The series kicked off in July 2018 with a 1-hour documentary special highlighting 50 years of the Special Olympics movement. It will end in July 2019 with a look back at key moments in the series.
Here are some highlights from the past year.
The relationship between Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her sister Rosemary Kennedy was the root of the entire Special Olympics movement. Experience the incredible, special relationship that helped create one woman’s vision for a world of inclusion.
NFL running back and Special Olympics Global Ambassador Jamaal Charles got his start in sports through Special Olympics and for years was nervous to share his story. When he courageously took the stage at World Games in 2015 to reveal that he too was a Special Olympics athlete, #newrespect took Twitter by storm. Follow Jamaal’s journey as he relives that special moment.
As a refugee in African and then Europe, Gerald faced harsh discrimination. It was the athletes he met through Unified Sports who were the first to accept him in his new home of Italy. Gerald shares how his team gave him the hope and inspiration he so desperately needed to create a positive and joyful life for himself.
To combat the deadly floods that ravage Odisha, India every year, Arpita Mohapatra trains children with and without intellectual disabilities in open water swimming, an important and often life-saving skill. But it hasn’t been easy. Find out how Arpita became the driving force behind the Bharati Rath Memorial Academy of Special Human Abilities, a community program that empowers people with disabilities through sport and physical activity!
“A Very Special Christmas” (AVSC) is the most successful benefit recording in history. Not only did AVSC introduce Christmas classics like Madonna’s “Santa Baby” and Run-D.M.C.’s “Christmas In Hollis” to the airwaves, the album series has raised over $131 million for Special Olympics. Royalties from AVSC catalyzed the international growth of Special Olympics, with grant money distributed to new and emerging Programs in over 160 countries and territories over the last 30 years. Hear from Bono, Joey Simmons, Jimmy Iovine, Vicki Iovine, and Bobby Shriver about the album series that changed the game for inclusion!