Official Events

One year until Special Olympics World Winter Games Kazan 2022

Kazan, January 22, 2021: One year from today, on 22 January 2022, Kazan will hold the opening ceremony for the Special Olympics World Winter Games Kazan 2022. More than 2,000 Special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities from over 100 countries will compete in six sports and be supported by 3,000 volunteers and 4,000 dignitaries and family members from all around the world.

The Special Olympics World Winter Games are the world's largest sports and humanitarian event and are the flagship event of the global movement to achieve a truly inclusive world for people with disabilities. Using the platform of the Games, Special Olympics will seek to transform attitudes about intellectual disabilities in Russia, as well as create new opportunities for social integration and inclusion for the estimated three million people with intellectual disabilities living in Russia and other people with intellectual disabilities across the world.

The World Winter Games Kazan 2022 will be the first time Special Olympics holds a global event in Russia. Kazan has significant experience hosting major world-class sports events for the past 10 years.

Mary Davis, Chief Executive Officer of Special Olympics, said: "Special Olympics is proud to host the World Winter Games 2022 in Kazan, Russia. Kazan has established itself as a city capable of hosting top international sporting events, and I am confident the World Winter Games 2022 will leave a lasting legacy of inclusion in Russia and show the world that sports are a catalyst for inclusion and peace."

Rustam Minnikhanov, President of the Republic of Tatarstan, said: "I am grateful to Special Olympics for placing their trust in us to host the World Winter Games 2022. We are making every effort to ensure these Games are a successful sporting event, and more importantly a valuable contribution to an inclusive culture. I believe that a happy society is one in which provides everyone with equal opportunities, and it is our job to make that possible."

Olga Slutsker, President of Special Olympics Russia, said: "The World Winter Games Kazan will create an atmosphere of joy and kindness, breaking down barriers and conventions. When it comes to inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities, we see that we are more alike than we are different. Sports have the power to bring people together, and World Winter Games Kazan 2022 build an inclusive culture in Russia and around the world."

Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners will have the opportunity to compete in seven sports: alpine skiing, snowboarding, floorball, cross-country skiing, figure skating, short track speed skating and snowshoeing.

In addition to the main competitions, the World Winter Games 2022 will include additional initiatives to promote inclusion. The Special Olympics World Games also provide a prominent platform for the movement’s work in health, education, and leadership for athletes.
Throughout 2021, a number of qualifying competitions will be held to recruit the Special Olympics Russian national team for the 2022 Games.

To celebrate the one-year countdown, the official social media accounts for World Winter Games 2022 on Instagram, Facebook and will be announced.

About Special Olympics Russia

Special Olympics Russia was founded in 1999 and is one of the largest national programs in the global Special Olympics movement. In Russia, around 130,000 people with intellectual disabilities are involved in physical education and about 5,000 physical culture events of the municipal, regional and all Russian levels are held annually under the Special Olympics Russia program. Currently there are Special Olympics regional offices in 62 regions of Russia. Russian athletes with intellectual disabilities take part in international tournaments annually in the Special Olympics Russia program with athletes occupying various leadership positions.

Special Olympics provides sports training throughout the year in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Training of future Special Olympics participants has already started around Russia. Russian athletes with intellectual disabilities can join a team in their region on the website:

About Special Olympics

Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We foster acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health, and leadership. With more than six million athletes and Special Olympics Unified Sports® in over 190 countries and territories and more than one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions every year.

Special Olympics World Games are held every two years, alternating between summer and winter, and are broadcast worldwide by ESPN, the official TV and radio broadcasting partner of the Special Olympics movement.

Engage with us on: TwitterFacebookYouTubeInstagram, LinkedIn and our blog on Medium. Learn more at