Athlete Leadership

Athlete Leadership and Unified Champion Schools Sponsor:

Aramark H RedandBlack R

Goal of Special Olympics

The ultimate goal of Special Olympics is to help persons with intellectual disabilities participate as productive and respected members of society by offering them a fair opportunity to develop and demonstrate their skills and talents through sports training and competition, and by increasing the public's awareness of their needs and capabilities.

Athlete Leadership Value Statement

Special Olympics empowers athletes to become contributing and respected members of society. We support athlete leaders both on and off the playing field.

Purpose of Athlete Leadership  

The goal of Athlete Leadership is to empower athletes to develop leadership skills and utilize their voices and abilities to assume meaningful leadership roles, influence change within the Special Olympics movement, and create inclusive communities around the world.  Check out our Athlete Leadership One Page Snapshot.

    Athlete Leadership on YouTube!

Check out our Newsletter Issues of Special Olympics Athlete Review (SOAR):

Winter 2021 Issue Summer 2019 Issue
2020 End of Year Review Winter 2019 Issue
Winter 2020 Issue 2018 End of Year Review
2019 End of Year Review Summer 2018 Issue

If you are interested in submitting a story for SOAR, here are the deadlines for each edition: March 31st (Winter), August 31st (Summer) and December 31st (End of Year).

Definition of Athlete Leadership 

Through organized training and practical experiences, Athlete Leadership prepare athletes for meaningful positions of influence and leadership throughout the Special Olympics organization, both on and off the playing field.

Special Olympics PA VisionSOPA Vision Image

  • To strive to be an athlete-led and athlete-centric organization
  • To enable athletes, families, volunteers and the community at large to see athletes in leadership roles EVERYWHERE throughout Special Olympics programs
  • To change the perception of our athlete leaders
  • To equip athletes with the skills and abilities to lead our organization and others

Athlete Leadership Roles & Trainings: Overview of Athlete Leadership courses based on the University model which are taken around a major in communications, governance, sports and/or health. In addition, reviews roles athletes can purse following completion of Athlete Leadership University.

Handbook For Athlete Leaders: Outlines purpose of Athlete Leadership and includes detailed overview of Athlete Leadership University.

Athletes with the proper training and coaching can lead us into the future.   Athlete Leaders within all levels of our program have strong voices, a desire to get involved, and a better understanding of what their needs are and where we should be heading as an organization.

Athlete Leadership Opportunities Include: 

Athlete Leadership University

ATHLETE LEADERSHIP UNIVERSITY- Training offered to Athlete Leaders three times a year to further their knowledge base and provide certification in the below.

1.  Communications - Global Messengers (trained as public speakers for Special Olympics)

2.  Governance - Athlete Representatives (trained as spokespersons for Special Olympics)

3.  Health – Health and Fitness Coordinators (trained to incorporate better health and fitness habits into their local program).

4.  Sports – Coaches (trained to help athletes that currently are, or want to become certified coaches, make the transition from a competitor to a coach).

In order to submit practicums for Athlete Leadership University courses, all Athlete Leaders must log into THEIR individual (not their mentor’s) profile in the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Online Portal. If the Athlete Leader is having difficulties logging in, they may select “Trouble Logging In” to retrieve User ID or “Forgot Password” to automatically have new password sent to their e-mail. Once logged in, Athlete Leaders must then go to the “Athlete Leadership Opportunities” tab and select the course(s) they wish to submit a practicum in. For questions regarding Athlete Leadership University practicums, please contact Jordan Schubert at

**If interested in being trained in any of these subjects, please fill out the Athlete Leadership University Interest Form so you can receive all Athlete Leadership updates.**

2018 Athlete Congress

For more information and details on upcoming programs, please contact: Jordan Schubert, Athlete Leadership Coordinator

Athlete Feedback is very important to us.  If you have any suggestions on how to make Special Olympics better for all athletes, please click the below button and submit your ideas.

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