As Special Olympics athletes gain confidence and feel empowered, they often seek new challenges.

Special Olympics Canada provides Athlete Leadership Programs, which equip athletes with the tools to undertake positions of leadership within their community and the broader movement. This allows athletes to explore opportunities beyond sports training and competition. These leadership roles can include public speaking, being an athlete health advocate, being a part of an Athlete Input Council, being a Peer Mentor, and taking on positions as Board and Committee Members.

These roles give athletes a voice in shaping the Special Olympics movement, and a chance to spread the word about the transformations Special Olympics can bring to individuals and families. Athlete Leadership also provides a way for athletes to showcase and utilize their talents, interests, and expertise.

Through involvement with Athlete Leadership Programs, athletes can:

•    Learn to speak persuasively and comfortably

•    Interview with the media

•    Mentor and speak up for other athletes

•    Assist with fundraising events

•    Discuss their opinions on policy, governance, and all SO related topic

Course Descriptions

Athlete Speaker Workshop 1: The athlete speaker program provides opportunities for athletes to develop public speaking and speech writing skills, as well as poise and self-confidence while educating others about the organization and the Special Olympics movement.

Athlete Speaker Workshop 2: Follow-up training to Athlete Speaker Workshop 1 that works on refining public speaking skills, focusing speeches to get the desired action by the audience, and preparation for various media/presentation situations and encounters as a public speaker for Special Olympics.

Peer Mentor: “Peer Mentor” refers to an athlete who assists the head coach and the assistant coaches at weekly practice, training of athletes and helps mentor other athletes to reach their goals. Athletes will learn how to become a Peer Mentor, where they will provide additional quality expertise to enhance athlete performance in the sport that they have retired from.

Athletes on Input Councils & Committees: This course provides guidance for athletes who want to become part of an Athlete Input Council or Committee and the differences between the two types. It will teach them how to receive and give feedback on issues that come up in their local program, serve on their local leadership team, or become part of a committee or subcommittee in or outside of Special Olympics.

Social Media/Media/Athlete Reporter: This course provides general training on social media platforms, including effectiveness, safety, and appropriateness; along with theory and practical training involving media interviews and engagements. It will also train athletes to be Athlete Reporters, where they learn skills on how to report stories and interview others in their program or community. Special Olympics' Athlete Leadership Program allows athletes to explore opportunities for greater participation in the SO movement beyond sports, training, and competition.

For more information on the Athlete Leadership Program or to register for an upcoming course, please contact: