The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Special Olympics, the global movement promoting inclusion and creating community through sport.
The MOU was signed in Berlin (Germany) during the Special Olympics World Games, which is bringing together thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities for nine days (17-25 June) of sporting competition. Cycling is among the 26 sports on the programme.
The focus of the MOU is to use and adapt existing and new resources to expand cooperation and communications between the UCI, its World Cycling Centre (WCC) and Special Olympics, and to educate and encourage others to join the movement of inclusion in sport. As part of this MOU, the UCI will make the facilities and coaching expertise at the UCI WCC – the UCI’s education and training centre in Aigle, Switzerland –, available to Special Olympics.
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Alternating between summer and winter, the Special Olympics World Games have become the flagship event of the Special Olympics movement, demonstrating inclusion, acceptance, and unity.
UCI President David Lappartient welcomed the MOU, saying: “The UCI firmly believes that cycling is a sport for everybody, and inclusion is interwoven into our policies and the UCI Constitution. Riding a bike helps people the world over improve their wellbeing, increase their confidence and establish friendships. I am delighted by this partnership with Special Olympics which, thanks to the facilities at our UCI World Cycling Centre, will further promote cycling as an accessible sport for people with intellectual disabilities.”
Lou Lauria, Chief of Sport, Special Olympics said: “The UCI shares the same common values as Special Olympics International and cycling truly lives those values as a sport, health and leisure activity. It is sport for all in every sense of the word and this partnership is well aligned in so many aspects. Special Olympic sport cyclists and athletes who incorporate cycling into their training, or those who cycle with their families, to work or school will all benefit. We could not be more excited to expand our family of international federation partners and embark on some exciting work with the UCI.”