50 Game Changers

ESPN and Special Olympics have teamed up on a year-long storytelling initiative telling the stories of game changers and game changing moments toward inclusion. Check back each week for a new story of inclusion.
Kayla McKeon is changing laws and attitudes as the first registered lobbyist with Down syndrome. As the Manager of Grassroots Advocacy with the National Down Syndrome Society, Kayla brings her personal story to the Nation’s Capital. When she’s not changing laws for millions just like her, Kayla is a Special Olympics New York athlete. No matter what you give Kayla, a ball or a bill, she’s going to run with it. And you better watch her because she can run fast!
4:54
Growing up, Sam Perkins and Rodney Hankins developed a close bond playing sports on the streets of Brooklyn, New York, dreaming of becoming world champions. It wasn’t until Sam saw Rodney competing at a Special Olympics event that he realized his friend had an intellectual disability—and his attitude towards people with intellectual disabilities was changed forever.
4:37
When Karen’s daughter, Violet, was born with an intellectual disability she didn’t know what to expect. Today, Karen is leading the charge to bring inclusive sport and play to children and their families through the Special Olympics Young Athletes program. Follow Karen and Violet as they open a bright new world of possibility for children of all abilities!
5:05
Jonny Pierce is record-breaking swimmer who exemplifies the talent and dedication it takes to be an exceptional competitor. As a Special Olympics Southern California athlete and member of the US National Paralympic swim team, Jonny is changing perceptions about the talent of people with intellectual disabilities around the world.
5:33
For last twenty years, Best Buddies has hosted the Best Buddies Challenge, an event that celebrates individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) with football, cycling, food, and fun. Join celebrities like Tom Brady and Guy Fieri as they team up with Buddies to show that everybody deserves to be included!
4:34
Everybody gets a chance to shine at CO/LAB, where people of all abilities come together and express themselves through inclusive theater arts.
5:26
In a movement that has long been fueled by women’s leadership, the female athletes of Special Olympics Saudi Arabia are just the latest trailblazers who are breaking barriers for inclusion.
4:03
For individuals with severe or profound disabilities, the Motor Activity Training Program (MATP) uses sports adapted to individual strengths to build confidence and personal connections.
5:07