On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Special Olympics has announced Olympian and swimming sensation Alia Atkinson as one of its new Global Ambassadors and as part of its inaugural Champion Ambassador programme to build support for a more inclusive world for people with intellectual disabilities.
“Special Olympics Global and Champion Ambassadors supercharge our mission to make inclusion a reality for all people with intellectual disabilities,” said Mary Davis, Special Olympics chief executive officer.
“When our Global and Champion Ambassadors use their voices in support of Special Olympics, they reach people who may be unaware that discrimination and exclusion of people with intellectual disabilities is real and there’s something you can do about it in a way that is rewarding for all,” Davis added.
All Global and Champion Ambassadors volunteer their time to create public awareness of Special Olympics programming in sports, health, education, leadership, and youth programmes through on-the-ground and virtual activations worldwide or locally.
According to Atkinson, she was honoured to serve as a Special Olympics Champion Ambassador as the organisation continues to fulfil its objective of the inclusion of persons with intellectual disabilities.
“Intellectual disabilities is real and there is something we can do about it in a way that is rewarding for all,” Atkinson said.
“I hope to exceed everybody’s expectations and hope this partnership can grow. I am extremely humbled and thankful for this honour,” she added.
Ambassadors collaborate closely with Special Olympics staff relationship managers to authentically engage in focus areas that most interest them. They join the 6.5 million athletes with intellectual disabilities and unified partners to demonstrate the power of sports to create a world inclusive of people of all abilities.
Celebrated every December 3, International Day of Persons with Disabilities celebrates and raises awareness of people of all abilities. The theme for 2020 is ‘Building Back Better’, and even as the pandemic has forced the global Special Olympics movement to make several pivots, ambassadors have shown unwavering support for motivating athletes, lifting spirits, and maintaining momentum for inclusion.