- 92 Full Members: international sports federations governing specific sports worldwide;
- 16 Associate Members: organisations which conduct activities closely related to the international sports federations.
Mission and values
So many of us who are in the movement come from families who raised us in Special Olympics. That’s true of a lot of people. … So we’re a family-oriented organization in concrete ways.
I think what’s most interesting to me today is that this is not a sports organization trying to find a larger social purpose. This is a social revolution using sports to achieve its goals.
I remember some of the Camp Shriver scenes, as a young child would remember them. I remember the school buses arriving. I remember the raising of the American flag in the morning and the playing of the trumpet. I remember my house turning into something of an amusement park. Horses came. All kinds of sports equipment. If you’re 4 or 5 years old, what’s more fun than your backyard being drenched in games.
I remember people who had behavior challenges, who were non-verbal, and being curious about it. It wasn’t as though it was all cute and beautiful. It was human beings challenged and challenging. But the most profound memory was that it was fun.
I even say this to my kids now, if you can find something that’s both fun and important at the same time, you’ve hit the real strike zone in life. Because most of the things that are fun aren’t important and most of the things that are important aren’t fun.
I had been a volunteer all my life. Played on Unified teams. All that. But I was absolutely firm in my belief that my career was in education. If somebody had said, do you want to go work for [Special Olympics], I’d have said no. It was not my plan.
I think anybody who grows up with their parents dominant in an area has some desire to get out and do their own thing and prove themselves. There was no way I was going to be the Shriver kid who took over for his mommy and his daddy. No chance.
Some things have to happen to you to understand them. And this happened to me. But it turns out it’s the best job in the world.
If you look at it from a cultural point of view, we still have a long way to go. If you look at it from an organizational point of view, I think we’ve grown the movement substantially. … We’ve developed a growing army of revolutionaries who see play as a way to change culture.
I think we’re at the end of a generation of pioneers who helped build the movement in the ’60s and ’70s. You look around at the United States programs and they’re led by people, many of whom have been there less than five or 10 years. They have fresh insights. They’re looking at digital strategies. They’re looking at education strategies. Community development. Issues like obesity and nutrition and fitness, and not just participation.
This is a new era. We’ve seen a lot of evidence that this is a different generation when it comes to issues around stereotyping and prejudice and discrimination. And I think the nation will benefit from it.
I think we’re on the precipice, at least in many places, of an era in which we can almost hope we’ll be able to take for granted that there will be a boys basketball team and a girls basketball team and a Special Olympics Unified basketball team.
I can already hear: “I’d love to do this but, sorry, last year we got our budget cut.” It’s always the same with our population. It’s always, “We’d love to help except …” … That’s why we’re here. We’re not willing to accept those excuses.
The pro leagues and teams have been terrific ambassadors of Special Olympics. The athletes have been there. The NBA has been terrific as a league, and it shows in the expansion of our basketball program in this country.
You can’t have a better combination of sport and social change, in my view. So we ought to be much more prominently featured in the sports leagues. But I don’t blame them. I blame myself. Why haven’t I been able to articulate that better?
I think it’s important to remember that there are still a lot of people who have an uncomfortable relationship with human difference. And I think we still are trying to overcome those feelings of discomfort.
I would love to see a day when these teams not just have halftime photo shoots, but have real, engaged involvement. We want training applications. We want the best fitness and physical development available. … If we’ve got a child who wants to play basketball who is 16 years old, we want to treat him like a serious athlete, not just like a good kid.
We don’t have 100 million eyeballs watching the playing fields where Unified Sports is taking place. But I think the big frontiers in sports business are finding ways for marketers to help the people who are inactive. Who are playing video games. Who are unnecessarily obese. Who are getting diabetes at premature ages from inactivity. Getting them out onto the field. We’re in the strike zone there.
We’ve never funded a large event in the way they’re doing it at [next year’s Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey]. It’s a sports-marketing-funded model.
They’ve always been largely philanthropic. … But the games in New Jersey made a big gamble. And that gamble was that people were going to fund these games for traditional sports marketing reasons. It will be fascinating to see the kinds of sports marketing strategies that emerge. Most of the sponsors are in place. What they will do and how they’re going to activate is TBD.
I had a phone call with David Stern years ago. He said, “What’s your tag line?” I can’t even remember what it was. But he said, “That’s a terrible tag line.” He said, “You know what you should say? You’re the best in sports.” I said, well, a lot of people think the NBA is. He said, “No. You’re the best in sports.”
Source: Special Olympics International
Kirsten Suto Seckler
Vice President, Branding and Communications
Special Olympics International
New E-learning programme promotes sustainable sport events
Providing accessible know-how
Sustainability and SportAccord
The Panel ‘Leveling the Playing Field: The Power of Sport to Erase Discrimination’ looked at the perspective of the UN and the sports movement on how sport may be used to erase discrimination, before examining the various ways in which discrimination may be manifested: race, age, gender, disability and religion. Highlighting the numerous policies and practices in place by SportAccord members, particular mention was made of SportAccord’s Social Responsibility Unit and the initiatives underway to engage the sport movement with anti-discrimination policies.
The panel noted the importance of awareness, prevention and education in fighting discrimination. It was agreed upon that athlete role models play an important part in the conveying of positive messages.
Sport is sometimes used as a platform for venting discriminatory tendencies (e.g. racism) thus justifying the need for legislation and regulation within International Sports Organisations so as to discourage negative behaviour as well as motivate positive conduct. SportAccord member, FIFA, includes in its statutes two paragraphs that clearly state the prohibition of any type of discrimination, corresponding punishments and a commitment to fighting discrimination in football worldwide.
For further information please contact:
Ms. Ingrid BEUTLER,Director, Social Responsibility Unit
The annual awards commend the commitment and humanitarian spirit of SportAccord members who have made an exceptional and lasting contribution to using sport as a tool for positive social change. The Spirit of Sport Awards 2013 will be presented to the Laureates during the 11th annual SportAccord convention in Saint-Petersburg, Russia in May 2013.
IF Programmes that focus on the following areas are encouraged:
- Sport and Child & Youth Development
- Sport and the Environment
- Sport and Gender
- Sport and Health
- Sport and Persons with Disabilities
- Sport and Peace
Only ONEproject and/or individual application per Member will be allowed in the 2013 edition of the Awards.
The application form may be downloaded here. Videos and pictures that illustrate the submitted application are very much appreciated. Please return the application form as well as any visual support files to Cátia Relíquias Teresa, firstname.lastname@example.org, Sports’ Social Responsibility Unit.
We look forward to receiving your applications for the Spirit of Sport Award 2013 and inform you that all applications will be uploaded on SportAccord’s Social Responsibility Map
The Amsterdam Declaration was tabled by International Olympic Committee (IOC) Commission for Culture and Olympic Education Chairman Lambis V. Nikolaou at the closing ceremony. It contains a set of recommendations that refer to a range of topics including the important role of the athletes’ entourage, next year’s fifth UNESCO World Sport Ministers Conference (MINEPS V), social media and educational programmes for athletes.
Among the action points contained in the Declaration, the participants called for making it an obligation for authorities to include values-based education and physical education in school curricula; for using of all types of media to send messages on sport, the Olympic values, education and healthy lifestyles as enshrined in the IOC’s Youth Strategy; for supporting the introduction and enhancement of educational programmes for athletes which equip them with employability skills necessary for their post-high performance careers; and for working with public authorities to protect sportspersons.
In line with the Conference motto “Olympism powered by Youth”, the debate featured numerous young speakers and Olympians. During a dedicated youth session, participants of the Youth Olympic Games and other young leaders presented action and ideas in regard to the empowerment of young people in various fields. The focus of the Conference this year was on the policies, practice and potential of sport and Olympism as they relate to culture and education.
With that in mind, representatives from the sporting community, the United Nations system, civil society organisations, special interest groups, academia, governments, non-governmental organisations, the corporate sector and the media were invited to attend and share their experiences in interactive plenary and dialogue sessions designed to encourage fruitful discussions.
“We have had a really excellent World Conference, and I would like to thank the organisers for their work,” said IOC President Jacques Rogge. “Our task at this Conference was to seek new and better ways to share the Olympic values and the benefits of sport with young people around the world. We need to speak to young people in their language and we need to go where they are, physically, but also in the virtual world on social media platforms. We have accomplished a lot this week in a very interactive and stimulating environment, and the Amsterdam Declaration will guide us in our way forward.”
Lambis V. Nikolaou, Chairman of the IOC’s Commission for Culture and Olympic Education Commission, said:
“I think we can all agree it was a highly productive Conference. Once again, the inclusion of young people in the programme proved to be a huge success. It is now up to us all to work together to bring to fruition the action plan adopted today, by showing young people that sport can help them to give the best of themselves.”
The Conference was organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and in collaboration with the National Olympic Committee of the Netherlands (NOC*NSF) and the city of Amsterdam.
The theme of the 2012 IF Forum, organised exclusively for delegates from the International Federations, was “Increasing the Positive Impact of Your Event through Sustainable Event Management.” The Forum provided an overview of the current sports sustainability landscape by highlighting not only lessons from the Olympic Games but also the learnings of IFs in integrating sustainability into medium and smaller sized events. During two days of conference and workshop sessions, attendees shared concrete experiences, best practice, technical knowledge and practical tools.
The IF Forum is organised by SportAccord Convention in conjunction with SportAccord, the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) and the Association of Winter Olympic International Federations (AIOWF), with the support of the City of Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud. This year’s programme was shaped by SportAccord.
During the Forum, as part of SportAccord’s ongoing commitment to supporting its members, a pilot of a Sport Sustainability E-Learning programme was launched at www.sport-sustainability.com. Developed mainly for IFs and National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the programme is an initiative of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and SportAccord as principal partners, with the International Academy of Sports Science and Technology and Technology (AISTS) and Positive Impact as content providers.
The programme is available both online and in seminar format. Its content is relevant for both large and small federations, organising committees and all organisations involved in the planning for and staging of sports events.
The Sport Sustainability E-Learning is a principal pillar of SportAccord’s Sustainable Event Management Support, a five pillar strategy to support SportAccord members in making sustainability a key part of their organisations and events. SportAccord has developed turn-key services and tools in Training / Education, Implementation, Reporting, Assessment / Certification and Communication.
“It is SportAccord’s firm belief that this year’s Forum will be the start of an increased commitment of International Federations to managing the social, economic and environmental impact and opportunities of their events,” said Vincent Gaillard, Director General of SportAccord. “By understanding the social and business potential of embracing sustainability, IFs stand to increase brand value, enhance positive social impact, minimise negative environmental impact and foster balanced, enduring growth.”
The 2012 IF Forum, held at Lausanne’s Mövenpick Hotel, drew support from the following Official Partners: City of Auckland, City of Edmonton, Eurosport, IFM Sports, JLT Sport with the City of Lausanne and the Canton de Vaud as Host City Partners for the Forum once again.