A1 Journal article (refereed)
‘Life is team play’ : social inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in the context of Special Olympics (2022)

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, 25(10), 2146-2161. https://doi.org/10.1080/17430437.2022.2037565

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Asunta, Piritta; Hasanen, Elina; Kiuppis, Florian; Rintala, Pauli; McConkey, Roy

Journal or series: Sport in Society

ISSN: 1743-0437

eISSN: 1743-0445

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 15/02/2022

Volume: 25

Issue number: 10

Pages range: 2146-2161

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17430437.2022.2037565

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/80324

Additional information: Special Section: Special Olympics in Context of Inclusion Debates in Sport; Guest Editors: Florian Kiuppis and Daniela Schwarz


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.

Keywords: people with intellectual disabilities; adapted physical activity; sports contests; participation; inclusion; social inclusion; experiences (knowledge)

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2023-10-01 at 13:52