‘Life is team play’ : social inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in the context of Special Olympics
Asunta, P., Hasanen, E., Kiuppis, F., Rintala, P., & McConkey, R. (2022). ‘Life is team play’ : social inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in the context of Special Olympics. Sport in Society, Early online. https://doi.org/10.1080/17430437.2022.2037565
Published inSport in Society
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This article provides insights from an empirical study on the meaning of social inclusion for Finnish athletes with intellectual disabilities (ID) who participate in Special Olympics (SO). A further objective was to explore the athletes’ perceptions of the role SO has played in their lives regarding their personal experiences of social inclusion. Data were transcripts of five focus group interviews carried out with a total of 31 participants during the last SO World Winter Games in 2017. The content was analysed with the aim of identifying the main themes in the athletes’ conversations about social inclusion. Three main themes were identified: inclusion as a contrast to past discrimination; inclusion as receiving and providing assistance; and inclusion as participation in teamwork. The results indicate that SO and arguably sport more generally can assist people with ID in moving forward on a path from being excluded toward social inclusion.
PublisherTaylor & Francis
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- Liikuntatieteiden tiedekunta 
Additional information about fundingThe study was a part of a transnational research project on social inclusion through sports for players with ID (see McConkey and Menke 2020; Asunta et al. 2021).
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