The Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, supporting over 5 million athletes, coaches, and volunteers with 32 Olympic-type sports, in 172 countries. Year-round sports training and athletic competition is provided, giving athletes “opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with the world.”

The Special Olympics is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but is not held the same year or in conjunction with the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The first Special Olympics World Games was held in 1968 in Chicago, USA and since then “the world has transcended the boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, culture, and religion to come together every two years… alternating between summer and winter.”

As for this year’s Games, they will be held from June 17-25 in Berlin, Germany, welcoming 7,000 Special Olympic athletes from roughly 190 countries! Athletes will compete in 26 sports, but of course track and field will always have a special place in our heart.

Track and Field has been a sport at the Special Olympics World Games since 1968 and in the 2023 iteration of the Games it is estimated that 750 athletes will be participating in the track and field events. The events range from 50m to 10,000m, in addition to shot put, mini javelin throw, standing long jump and long jump. All events will take place at the Olympiapark Berlin, which was built for the 1936 Olympic Games. 

Here are just some of the highlights:

Track Events

50m – Level A Finals

  1. Maria Navarro Ferre of Spain – 11.09
  2. Natasha Chang of New Zealand – 11.25
  3. Shanike Ebanks of Cayman Islands – 11.61

100m – Level A Finals

  1. Adel Takacs of Hungary – 13.62
  2. Caitlin Romer of Bahamas – 13.84
  3. Marie Zalo of Ghana – 13.92

200m Level A Finals 

  1. Sele Barrios of Venezuela – 27.67
  2. Maria Zalo of Ghana – 29.07
  3. Lisa Weingartner of Australia – 29.35

400m Level A Finals

  1. Mst Emona Khatun of Bangladesh – 1:04.66
  2. Tayibatou Sanogo of Burkina Faso – 1:06.24
  3. Mayaka Kimura of Nippon – 1:06.88

800m – Level A Finals

  1. Regan Hofley of Canada – 2:44.24
  2. Yukino Watanabe of Nippon – 2.46.85

1500m – Level A Finals

  1. Irene Ngina of Kenya – 5:25.41
  2. Yukino Watanbe of Nippon – 5:36.12
  3. Ruta Bardiniene of Lithuania – 5:41.43

5000m – Level A Finals

  1. Monica Prieto of Paraguay – 21:40.13
  2. Annika Meissner of Germany – 27.28.97
  3. Jessica Larivee – 31:03.61

3000m – Level A Finals

  1. Monica Prieto of Paraguay – 12.33.70
  2. Ruta Bardiniene of Lithuania – 12.41.06
  3. Cinthia Hernadez of Costa Rica – 13.38.71

Field Events

Long Jump Level A

  1. Adel Takacs of Hungary – 4.56m
  2. Yelyzaveta of Ilienko of Ukraine – 4.47m
  3. Sele Barrios of Venezuela – 4.47m

Mini Javelin Level A

  1. Hsin Yi Chang of Taipei – 23.49m
  2. Anna Maloney of USA – 20.52m
  3. Regan Hofley of Canada – 18.95m

Shot Put Level A

  1. Nea Tilli of Finland – 10.82m
  2. Tayibatou Sanago of Burkina Faso – 10.70m
  3. Emma Eriksson of Sweden – 8.89m

Standing Long Jump Level A

  1. Ayse Basaran of Turkey – 1.84m
  2. Kayanna Kelly of Jamaica – 1.80m 
  3. Samantha Walsh of Canada – 1.77m

For full Special Olympics World Games 2023 Results click here!

As for any Games, there are always amazing stories that stick with us, and Sana’s is just one we would like to share! Sana is an athlete from Pakistan, whose life was changed when she was introduced to Special Olympics Pakistan. Read more about her time at the Games here.