Our Impact
In 2019, Special Olympics marked the close of a momentous decade of remarkable growth. We expanded our reach to more than 6.7 million athletes and Unified Sports partners -- a global record!
Special Olympics Africa marked the largest percentage increase: thanks to a 12% rise, there are now more than 350,000 Special Olympics athletes and Unified teammates enjoying the unifying power of sport across the Region.

Strong growth has also been happening in the Middle East/North Africa, which hosted the Region’s first-ever Special Olympics World Games in 2019. Marking a 6% surge, MENA’s reach has widened to nearly a quarter-million athletes & Unified partners.

Impressive growth is also continuing in the Asia Pacific region, now home to a record-breaking 2.4 million Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners!
In addition to the week-long World Games in Abu Dhabi, there were nearly 115,000 Special Olympics sports competitions around the world in 2019, averaging 315 per day, 13 per hour.

This includes 31,367 Unified Sports competitions –- a 19% jump in just a year!

In 2019, Special Olympics Unified Sports hit a new milestone: nearly 1.9 million people – with and without intellectual disabilities –- are playing together and learning from each other through our inclusive sports, worldwide. This includes more than 909,000 athletes and 968,000 Unified partners.

As we know, the power of youth magnifies the power of unified—today and into the future. Our Unified Youth now number 690,000 teammates, all between the ages of 8-25. The empowering example of inclusion is also making an impact on our youngest athletes: in 2019, the Young Athletes program – for children ages 2-7, with and without ID – grew by 32% around the globe.
Inclusive Health for All
In 2019, Special Olympics Health conducted more than 157,000 free Healthy Athletes screenings around the world! This is often the first time an athlete is seen by a specially trained professional--improving health and saving lives.

This year, Special Olympics Health also achieved the goal of 100 Special Olympics Programs worldwide participating in Healthy Communities. We can also count 45 Programs that have achieved Healthy Community recognition status!

In addition, more than 36,000 professionals were trained in best ways to work and communicate with people with ID – a crucial part of our #InclusiveHealth campaign.
Download the 2019 Reach Report
Read the full report and see the impact of our movement throughout the world.
Download the 2020 Reach Report
Read the full report and see the impact of our movement throughout the world.
Download the 2021 Reach Report
Read the full report and see the impact of our movement throughout the world.
The 2019-2021 Reach Reports present data primarily sourced from the Special Olympics annual census, as well as the Health, Legal and Sports departments. Unified Schools and Unified Champion Schools data are also provided through Special Olympics North America.

Any decline in numbers compared to 2019 pre-pandemic data highlights the devastating impact of COVID-19 on our athletes and our global Programs. 2020-2021 data also showcases the resilience of the global movement. Special Olympics worked to redirect programming and develop solutions to adapt to a virtual environment.

Questions about the Special Olympics Annual Report? Suggestions? Please contact kmckenna@specialolympics.org.