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Special Olympics International

Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative
SO imagepower and joy of sports, every day around the world. Special Olympics empowers people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for us all.

Using sports as a catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympic movement has grown to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries.

With the support of more than 1.3 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners. Visit Special Olympics at Want to find out the next Special Olympics Events close to you, discover the 2016 Fit Feet events here.


Fit Feet Program

Fit Feet


Fit Feet helps Special Olympics athletes step lively on the playing field, and in everyday life. Many athletes suffer from foot and ankle pain, or deformities that impair their performance. In fact, up to 50 percent of Special Olympics athletes experience one or more preventable or treatable foot condition that can affect their sports participation. Often, these individuals are not fitted with the best shoes and socks for their particular sport. To alleviate these problems, volunteer podiatrists work with athletes to evaluate problems of the feet, ankles and lower limb biomechanics. More information.

Carine Haemels, former FIP-IFP president is also Fit Feet regional Clinical Advisor for many years. During the Belgian National Games in 2016 she created a small pilot project, teh results were:

30 % of the athletes stated they have pain in their feet – 65 % stated that their feet do not feel comfortable – 53% had difficulties with walking and 69% stability problems.Furthermore, 75.4 % of the athletes reported that they felt constrained by their feet in their sports activities, 76.8 % in their daily activities and 69.6 % in their work activities. These numbers are important to be mentioned.

In the chart below include comparison figures of 2015:

Fit Feet 2016

FIP-IFP and Special Olympics International Sign Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – 2014

Carine Haemels and Tim Shriver at the 2014 SO European Summer Games 2014
Carine Haemels and Tim Shriver at the 2014 SO European Summer Games 2014

On September 13, 2014 FIP-IFP President, Carine Haemels and Special Olympics International Director, Tim Shriver, officially renewed the Memorandum of Understandng (MOU) between the FIP-IFP and SOI at the European Summer Games of Special Olympics, in Antwerp, Belgium.

This signing solidifies the ongoing relationship that exists between both organizations that was originally formalized in 2011.

During this event 1459 athletes had their feet screened and 1400 (84%) of the participants were provided with a free pair of running shoes thanks to “Nike”.



Board of Directors visit the global office of Special Olympics International – 2011

On March 18, 2011 the FIP-IFP Board of Directors visited the global office of Special Olympics International in Washington D.C.  During this historic meeting the FIP President, Janet McInnes signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with the Director of Special Olympics. Special Olympics has only done signed this type of this agreement once before and it was with the Peace Corp. This agreement solidifies the working relationship of the two organizations and opens the door for ongoing collaboration.

Robert Chelin at the global office of SOI in Washington D.C
Robert Chelin at the global office of SOI in Washington D.C

Special Olympics World Summer Games June 25, 2011

The Special Olympics World Summer Games – ATHENS GREECE 2011 were held between June 25th -July 4th,  it drew 7,000 athletes from over than 180 countries worldwide, including 3,000 coaches and officials, 25.000 volunteers, 40,000 family members, thousands of spectators, as well as hundreds of journalists whom documented the efforts and achievements of these athletes. For more information go to

Members Whom Make a Difference – 2010

At the Special Olympics Games in Warsaw Poland on September 2010, Fit feet clinical Director and FIP member Carine Haemels along with several colleagues performed foot screenings on many of the athletes and handed out shoes to those in need.

Donated Nike Sneakers Invaluable to Athlete with Land Mine Injury

When she first stood up in new athletic shoes provided at the Fit Feet venue in Warsaw, Poland in September, Athlete Jennet Sopyeue from Turkmenistan smiled broadly and gave Fit Feet Clinical Director Carine Haemels two enthusiastic thumbs up.No wonder. Her injury had resulted in heavy bone and muscle damage, and she had come to the Special Olympics European Games wearing sandals that that gave almost no support. The gift from Nike will have an enormous impact on her life.