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Fast Facts


Special Olympics New York provides athletic training and competition to 68,547 (2016 census) individuals with intellectual disabilities.


Through sports training and competition, Special Olympics New York offers continuing opportunities for our athletes to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience the joy of achievement, and make new friends.


Athletes train and compete in nine regions across New York State.  This is accomplished with a network of over 37,318 dedicated volunteers, including 4,767 certified coaches.


Special Olympics New York offers a statewide, three-season program that provides 5,198 competitive opportunities and experiences annually.


Special Olympics New York achieves its goals through quality sports training in 22 Olympic-style sports.  Athletes can advance from local events to regional, state, national, and even international competitions.


Our founder, Dorothy Buehring Phillips, established the Special Olympics New York program in 1969. That same year, New York sent a delegation of athletes and coaches to the Northeast Regional Special Olympics competition in Boston, Massachusetts. Special Olympics New York was fully incorporated in 1970 and Phillips was appointed the first State Director. In June, 1970, the first State Summer Games were held in Rochester. Today, New York is the largest Special Olympics program in North America, with its headquarters in Schenectady and regional offices throughout the state.


Special Olympics New York is a privately funded not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that raises its operating budget mainly through the support and generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations. Special Olympics New York does not charge its athletes or their families to participate.

For more information contact Public Relations at (800) 836-6976 or email


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