England and Manchester City and England midfielder Jack Grealish has signed up with Special Olympics GB as the leading ambassador for the campaign for greater inclusion in the sport.
Grealish plays a long-term role in increasing the visibility of the charity’s work and promoting support and opportunities for the one and a half million people living with developmental disabilities in the UK today.
The nonprofit, the largest year-round provider of sports education and competition for children and adults of all abilities with intellectual disabilities, hopes to take advantage of the most expensive British player-provided platform of all time.
Grealish said: “I’ve been thinking for a while about how best to use the platform that football has given me to create positive change, and it had to be something very close to my heart.
“Special Olympics GB is a pivotal organization that plays a huge role in addressing the lack of coverage for hundreds of thousands of children with intellectual disabilities in the UK.
“No one should be excluded from opportunities and I do not support bullying or discrimination. In my new role with Special Olympics GB, I am proud to stand by all children, youth and adults with intellectual disabilities and the wonderful families who support them.
“I hope everyone in the UK will support Special Olympics GB and its amazing athletes and volunteers. So please follow Special Olympics GB on their social media and let’s start making a real difference together. »
Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities, the Special Olympics now reaches more than five million athletes in more than 190 countries.
Unlike the Olympics and Paralympics, which focus on elite sports with events held every four years, Special Olympics aims to offer athletes of all levels the opportunity to participate in various sports branches every day of the week, all weeks of the year.
Special Olympics GB CEO Colin Dyer said: “Everyone at the Special Olympics is thrilled and delighted that Jack has agreed to join the Special Olympics GB as a Senior Ambassador.
“After a really tough time for many people during the pandemic, especially people with intellectual disabilities, there is so much positive momentum at Special Olympics GB right now, it’s the perfect time to welcome Jack into his family.
“We look forward to continuing to strengthen our diverse group of Ambassadors to support Jack in his new role with Special Olympics GB in the near future. »
Special Olympics Gold Medal Winner Niall Guite said: “I love football and it’s great to be on the same team as Jack Grealish.
“Having such a key player and prominent figure supporting our community gives us all so much energy and motivation. Thanks Jack and welcome to Special Olympics GB! »
Special Olympics GB has ambitious growth plans for 2022; This includes a return to full-scale competition with a brand new format, the Special Olympics Summer Sports Series, the largest sports celebration for the mentally handicapped in the UK from June to September.
And 2023 will be a big year for Special Olympics GB, with the Special Olympics World Summer Games to be held in Berlin next June.
Special Olympics Great Britain (United Kingdom) is a non-profit charity founded in 1978 that provides year-round sports training and competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in summer and winter sports. To learn more, visit the website here.