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From the sport field to the red carpet - Special Olympics Australia celebrates athletes following th

Special Olympics Australia will be celebrating its athletes and fundraising for the 2027 World Games at its annual Gala Dinner, returning this month following a three-year hiatus during COVID.

In June, a team of 64 Australian athletes with an intellectual disability or autism represented their country at the Berlin World Games, bringing home a total of 63 medals. They competed in nine sports – athletics, basketball, bocce, equestrian, golf, gymnastics, swimming, tennis – winning 15 Gold, 22 Silver and 26 Bronze medals.

With sights now set on training and preparing for the 2027 World Games, Special Olympics Australia is kicking off fundraising efforts through its Gala dinner to support the organisation's community sporting events across the country.

“I’m really proud to have been picked to represent Australia at the World Games in Berlin. I loved spending time with my team and I won a gold medal in tenpin bowling. It was a dream come true.

“As athletes, we know the importance of teamwork and perseverance. I'm excited to take part in an event that brings people together to support athletes on the sporting field and make dreams come true." said Michael Wheatley, tenpin bowling gold medalist at the Special Olympics Berlin World Games 2023.

To help celebrate athletes’ achievements and encourage more people living with an intellectual disability or autism to take up sports, the charity will be hosting a glamorous fundraising gala at Luna Park Sydney on 21st October. Hosted by renowned journalist and Nine News presenter, Peter Overton AM, with the support of Aussie icon and comedian Peter Rowsthorn, the evening will be an opportunity to shine a light on the community and celebrate the athletes results.

Over the last 47 years, Special Olympics Australia has been raising funds to support competition opportunities for Australian athletes with intellectual disability and autism. This year the Gala Dinner will be raising vital funds to contribute to Special Olympics Australia’s mission of bringing a brighter future for those with an intellectual disability and autism, helping them to reach for the stars.

“We are delighted to bring together our corporate partners, athletes, their families and supporters to help us raise funds and help Special Olympics to provide sports training and competition in communities and schools across Australia. This night promises to be an evening of celebration and inspiration, and we are grateful to everyone who is contributing their time and resources to make a difference, and we encourage you to join with us to help Special Olympics athletes reach for the stars."

“Sport can help provide individuals living with intellectual disability or autism with personal achievement, pride, and inclusion. Creating spaces for this in our communities across Australia is so important. I’m proud of everything our athletes have achieved this year and I’m looking forward to celebrating them and hosting more events that will help ensure we can continue this work.” said Pierre Comis, Chief Executive Officer at Special Olympics Australia.

Tickets for the Gala Dinner are available at Special Olympics Australia : 2023 Reach for the Stars

For those wanting to attend the events or support Special Olympics on its mission, visit

Key Facts:

  • After Australian athletes brought home 63 medals from this year’s World Games in Berlin, Special Olympics Australia sets sights on 2027

  • Special Olympics Australia to celebrate athletes with Gala Dinner following three-year hiatus

About us:

About Special Olympics

The Special Olympics began in Australia in 1976 when many people with an intellectual disability were shut in institutions. While this is no longer the norm in Australia, we continue to seek public support to ensure that people with an intellectual disability are not shut out. By helping us give them opportunities to play sport, together we can open the door to personal achievement, pride and inclusion for some of the marginalised and isolated members of our community.

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