Special Olympics: much more than higher, faster, further

The International Games for people with intellectual disabilities will take place in Berlin for the first time in 2023

“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” 

That is the official oath of the Special Olympics, the games for athletes with intellectual disabilities. This is where people who, all too often, are left hidden in the shadows of life leave beaming with the joy of victory. And even if they don’t land right at the top of the winner’s podium, taking part in the Special Olympics is certainly a highlight in the athletes’ lives – and always a win. They can experience everything here that is good about sport, experience enthusiasm and appreciation, make friendships and feel a part of a big community. After the Special Olympics National Games 2022 in Berlin, the city will now host Special Olympics International Games. herby, SPORTFIVE has taking on the mission of marketing the Special Olympics in collaboration with the LOC.


Special Olympics National Games 2022 in Berlin 

The Special Olympics National Games in Berlin saw 4,000 athletes take to the start line from 19 to 24 June 2022. The National Games opened on 19 June with a large-scale opening celebration in the An der Alten Försterei stadium, while the final celebration on 24 June was held against the backdrop of the Brandenburg Gate – after six days full of emotions, sporting highlights and a varied supporting programme for all. The inclusive sporting atmosphere could be felt across the entire city and at the seven event locations. “Together unbeatable” was the motto: in all 20 sports, inclusive competitions were held in which people with and without intellectual disabilities took part as a team. 

Special Olympics World Games in Germany for the first time 

For Special Olympics Germany and the local organising committee (LOC), these national games were a key milestone on the journey to the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, the world’s largest inclusive sporting event. In June 2023, athletes from 190 nations will come to Berlin for the international Special Olympics – for a more inclusive Germany, greater participation and sustainable social change. 

The Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 is the biggest multi-sport event in Germany since the 1972 Olympics. More than 7,000 athletes will participate in 24 sports, with them and the LOC supported by 20,000 volunteers. 

With the World Games, Special Olympics Germany (SOG) and the local organising committee for the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 (LOC) pursue the vision of enabling people with intellectual disabilities to enjoy equal access to sport, education, work and healthcare. The World Games offer the opportunity to sustainably shift people’s perception of people with intellectual disabilities, with Berlin and Germany becoming pioneers of a more inclusive society.


athletes will compete at the Special Olympics


sports category will be included in the games


volunteers will make sure everything runs smoothly

SPORTFIVE takes over the marketing

As an international sports marketing agency, SPORTFIVE will be handling the marketing of the Special Olympics in Germany until 2024. In collaboration with the LOC, SPORTFIVE develops the marketing strategy, supports the search for sponsors and assists with the implementation of partnerships. Alongside the goal of playing a major role in making the 2023 World Games a reality and financing the participation of the German Special Olympics teams, the focus is primarily on partnerships that make an impactful contribution towards inclusion.  

"At SPORTFIVE, we believe in the power sport holds to change everyone’s life. The Special Olympics athletes embody this belief day in, day out. We’re proud to have been selected by Berlin 2023 and Special Olympics Germany."

Stefan Felsing, CEO of SPORTFIVE

Diverse partnerships

Unbeatable together: in line with the motto of the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, sustainably focused brands and companies have the opportunity to join the movement and play a key role in its success. With the overarching goal of social change, partners help drive forward plans for a more inclusive society – with sportspeople always at the heart of this. 

The Games offer sponsors many opportunities to meaningfully complement their diversity or inclusion strategies. 

Hendrik Schiphorst, Managing Director at SPORTFIVE Germany, explains: “The Special Olympics are the most inclusive partnership opportunity that Germany has to offer this decade. It’s more than an event, more than sport. For companies, the Special Olympics create a transformation platform via which they can get their employees, customers and management involved in a good cause through weekly programmes, while simultaneously demonstrating their social leadership role in a highly impactful way. 

Inclusion through the power of partnerships

The Special Olympics has made it its task to have a positive impact on the life of 200 million people with intellectual disabilities around the world through the transformative power of sport: for an inclusive society with equal access to sport, education, culture and healthcare. 

As the world’s biggest sports movement for people with intellectual disabilities and multiple disabilities, the Special Olympics are officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee and is the only organisation in the world that is allowed to use the term “Olympics”. In 1968, the Special Olympics were started by Eunice Kennedy-Shriver, a sister of US President John F. Kennedy. The background to this was that there were no sports available for disabled people like her sister Rosemary. Today, the Special Olympics, is represented as a movement in 174 countries, with 5.2 million athletes and offers year-round training and regular competitions. The sports range from basketball, football, judo and canoeing to track and field, cycling, riding and swimming, right up to tennis and volleyball. 

Everyone wins at the Special Olympics

The highlight of the events calendar are naturally the National Games 2022 and the World Games 2023 in Berlin: “The Special Olympics are more than just a straightforward celebration of sport,” says Sven Albrecht, CEO of the LOC and managing director of Special Olympics Germany. “Thanks to the outstanding support of the federal government and the state of Berlin, we have the opportunity to stand up for a more inclusive society. Around the world, the Special Olympics changes the lives of many people by raising awareness of day-to-day barriers and ultimately facilitating social participation. This is the goal for Berlin 2022 and 2023”. 

For the participants, engaging in sports activities together is paramount. But at the Special Olympics, the athletes can also show what they can do and be a role model and gain recognition. Everyone is a winner at the Special Olympics. 

Beyond the Match
The SPORTFIVE Magazine

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