October 22, 2014

Special Olympics on court event at 2012 Final Four in Istanbul

Special Olympics , founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, is the world's largest year-round program of sports training and competitions for individuals with intellectual disabilities of all ability levels. More than 4,2 million athletes in over 170 countries train and compete in 32 Olympics-style summer and winter sports at local, national and international events. Through its sports programs, Special Olympics strives to provide long-term benefits to individuals' health, self-esteem and social integration. 

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in Special Olympics with more than 440,000 players world-wide, and 58,000 in Europe/Eurasia (year 2012), who compete at local, national, European and World levels. 

Partnership with Special Olympics forms part of the Corporate Social Responsibility programme of Euroleague Basketball since 2009. 

• European Basketball Week: with the campaign “Basketball for Everyone”, when Euroleague promotes the inclusion, respect and integration in our community of people with intellectual disabilities. This action is most visible during the games dedicated to Special Olympics and on-courts activities in November each year. 

• Final Four: since 2010 at each Euroleague Basketball Final Four (Paris, Barcelona, Istanbul, London) Special Olympics had opportunity to take part in various social focused events. 

• Year–round activities: Euroleague players involvement as ambassadors, (e.g. Special Olympics Torch Run in Slovenia and Istanbul), cooperation with One Team members in Milan, Tel-Aviv or Madrid, participation in One Team workshops, Euroleague and One team support to Special Olympics competitions. 

In 2012 Special Olympics became a Strategic Partner of One Team, Euroleague Basketball's acclaimed corporate social responsibility programme 


"Special Olympics is one of the beacons of sport and social development and we are excited to partner with them through One Team," Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball's President and CEO, said. "This partnership enhances a long-term relationship with Special Olympics through our Final Four collaborations. Now we are in a position to take that further through the One Team program and turn that relationship into a year-round partnership." 

“This partnership has had a strong positive impact on SOEE’s Basketball programm, as well as bringing the organisation a new-found awareness across Europe and publicity generated through multiple communication channels.” Mary Davies, SOEE President and Managing Director. 

"Now we have a stronger platform that ever before to use the power and joy of basketball to transform the lives of players with intellectual disabilties. One Team clubs and Special Olympics coaches and volunteers can create together valuable coaching and education programmes that will be powerful vehicles for inclusion and positive social change.”