Welcome to Special Olympics BC-Vancouver

Our Mission

Special Olympics provides individuals with an intellectual disability the opportunity to enhance their life and celebrate personal achievement through positive sport experiences. Inspired by the discoveries of Dr. Frank Hayden’s research which demonstrated that, given the opportunity, persons with an intellectual disability could become physically fit and acquire the physical skills necessary to participate in sports, Special Olympics was born.

Our History

The first sports competition organized under the Special Olympics banner was held at Soldier’s Field in Chicago in 1968. Today, over 28,000 athletes with an intellectual disability participate in Special Olympic programs in Canada. Around the world, Special Olympics has grown to service over one million athletes in more than 160 countries.


In 1980, Special Olympics BC (SOBC) was established as an accredited chapter of Special Olympics Canada. In 1984 the Vancouver Local was formed as part of SOBC. In SOBC there are currently 49 communities offering Special Olympic programs in BC. SOBC Vancouver offers over 30 programs across 23 different sites, which are athlete-centered, coach-driven and administratively-assisted.


These programs give athletes the opportunity to train year-round in order to compete and test their skills against athletes of similar ability. Our more than 250 athletes are aged 2 to 84, and of all ability levels from developmental to elite. Athletes train and compete at the regional level and have the opportunity to qualify and participate in provincial, national and world games.