Our history

Special Olympics Ukraine was officially established in March 2002 though Ukrainian athletes with intellectual disabilities have been taking part in Special Olympics international events and every World Games since 1995. Today we are a pan-Ukrainian organisation with more than 19,000 athletes in 16 regions of the country.

However, this number is a fraction of the approximately one million people with intellectual disabilities who live in Ukraine. Most of them are isolated from society, they face discrimination and lack access to basic social services. That is why you can rarely see people with intellectual disabilities in most public places in Ukraine. As a result most of them live all their lives without having opportunities to develop their abilities and realise their potential. Through sports, Special Olympics Ukraine gives people with intellectual disabilities continuous opportunities to develop their skills, improve their fitness and overcome some of the obstacles they face in their daily lives.

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