A Special Olympics relationship
Coca‑Cola's links with the Special Olympics go back over 40 years
The Special Olympics first began in 1968 in Chicago, USA and Coca-Cola was involved from the start. When the Special Olympics then came to the UK in 1978, Coca-Cola was on hand to extend the partnership already begun in the US. As part of our commitment to the Special Olympics and encouraging active lifestyles, we provide financial and practical support, from cash donations to marketing services
Did you know? Special Olympics is for athletes of any ability with a learning disability. Paralympics is an event held for elite disabled athletes
Free drinks for athletes
There are currently around 8,000 athletes who benefit from the Special Olympics sports programme and events run throughout the year all around the country. We continue to work closely with Special Olympics GB, the charity that runs Special Olympics events in this country, providing regular funding every year through the Coca-Cola Youth Foundation, as well as free drinks for athletes from Coca-Cola's range of beverages.
We also encourage Coca-Cola consumers to use Coke Zone points to donate to Special Olympics GB, meaning extra money for equipment and facilities. The support pledged through Coke Zone has already hit our target of 1 million Coke Zone points donated to the Special Olympics cause.
Personal time and effort
Our relationship with the Special Olympics has inspired our employees, and many have gone the extra mile by investing their personal time and effort in setting up and helping to run Special Olympics sports clubs near the Coca-Cola offices in London.
Timeline: the history of the Special Olympics
- June 1962 Eunice Kennedy Shriver starts a summer day camp for children and adults with learning difficulties
- July 1968 The first Special Olympics is held at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois
- December 1971 Special Olympics approved by the US Olympics Committee
- February 1977 The first International Special Olympics Winter Games is held in Colorado
- September 1986 The United Nations in New York launches the International Year of Special Olympics
- February 1988 The International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially endorses and recognises the Special Olympics, authorising the games to use the word 'Olympics' in its title
- March 1993 The 5th Special Olympics World Winter Games are hosted in Austria, the first World Winter Games held outside the US
- June 2003 Ireland hosts the first Special Olympics World Summer Games to be held outside the US, in which 5,500 athletes participate
- October 2007 Over 7,500 athletes from 164 different countries gather in Shanghai, China, for the 12th Special Olympics World Summer Games, which are broadcast internationally on an unprecedented scale
- July 2008 The Special Olympics celebrates its 40th anniversary with almost 3 million athletes in more than 180 countries around the world
- February 2009 The Special Olympics World Winter Games in Idaho attract nearly 2,000 athletes from close to 100 countries
- July 2009 The Special Olympics Summer Games are held in Leicester, Great Britain