The stars are aligned: Celebrities who have joined the cause
It took a Kennedy to start it but over the years some of the world most famous faces have thrown their collective clouts behind the Special Olympics movement. Let’s unapologetically name check a few!
VOLUNTEER CONTENT - By Liz Beneski
Since its inception, the Special Olympics has been strongly supported by a galaxy of TV, movie, music, and sports stars.
Many may recall the series of chart-topping music compilations released over the past 30-odd years called ‘A Very Special Christmas’ - which featured such classics as Madonna’s “Santa Baby” and Run DMC’s ‘Christmas in Hollis’. The albums raised over $100 million for Special Olympics and remained on the all-time chart-sellers lists.
In addition to albums, dozens of music stars have hosted concerts and many have performed at the Games - who can ever forget Bono’s concert at the 2003 World Games in Dublin? Most recently, Chance the Rapper partnered with Jason Mraz in Chicago to hold the “Inclusion Revolution” concert - which featured Usher, Smokey Robinson, and O.A.R. on the bill.
Mraz also performed at the 2017 World Games closing ceremony in Austria, and recalls, “We performed right after all the athletes came rushing out of this tunnel, and you could see on their faces how far they’ve come. Not just the miles to get to the Games, but even the many miles in their country to earn their spot - you could see that pride. I had chills.”
Basketball legend Michael Jordan has supported the members and the staff that enable the Special Olympics to take place; he helps children who have disabilities to play sports, and has funded these organizations for many years.
The Terminator himself Arnold Schwarzenegger has been involved with the Special Olympics since 1979, and serves as the Organization’s International weight training coach and honorary president of the Special Olympics Austria. He shone light brightly on Special Olympics when he said 'hasta la vista' to a Twitter troll.
During the 2017 Winter Games held in Austria, he became a global Twitter sensation by shutting down an “internet troll” who mocked the Games - with a passionate response to an unflattering post (now deleted).
"As evil and stupid as this comment is, I'm not going to delete it or ban you (yet) because it's a teachable moment,” wrote Arnie.
"You have two possible paths ahead. Right now, I guarantee you that these athletes have more courage, compassion, brains and skill - actually more of every positive human quality than you. So, take their path - you could learn from them, and try to challenge yourself, to give back, to add something to the world.”
As we're fast approaching the World Games in Abu Dhabi, it’s exciting to see our own regional and local celebrities and leaders here in the UAE help bring excitement and awareness to the Inclusion Revolution. Be sure to Fill The Stands to cheer on the athletes from March 14-21, and who know whom you might spot at the Games? Post your photos and celeb spotting on social media tagging @WorldGamesAD!