In June 2003 Ireland hosted the Special Olympics World Summer Games. For two weeks, as a nation we were enthralled and inspired by the determination, bravery, skill and abilities of the 7,000 athletes who travelled from 168 countries.

Staging the 2003 Special Olympics World Games opened our eyes to many things. We saw people with an intellectual disability in a new light, as individuals who could achieve far more than we ever thought possible. We came to see people with an intellectual disability for what they could achieve rather than what could not.

Staging the Games revealed a lot about ourselves too, both as individuals and as an island: we came to experience a ‘can do’, an ‘everything is possible’ feeling throughout the island of Ireland not felt before or since. In short our eyes were opened to possibilities which before we thought were beyond us.

To celebrate this and the 2003 World Games and what it stood for and also to acknowledge the legacy that still is impacting people’s lives throughout the country Special Olympics Ireland is asking the people of Ireland to remember and celebrate that special time in 2003 by challenging themselves to do something that they had never done before.....in the same way people with an intellectual disability are doing every day of their lives in Special Olympics.

Oliver Doherty who features in our advertising campaign was a gold medalist at the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games, has a golfing handicap of 7, and was captain of Buncrana Golf Club in 2008. Meet him here:

What do you see?

Re-Ignite the Feeling

We'd love to hear your story from the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games, Share you story either on our website, email it to us on eteam@specialolympics.ie, or share it on our Facebook page here.