What does Special Olympics do? Special Olympics changes lives. Special Olympics New Zealand is first and foremost a sports organisation for people with an intellectual disability, but it provides athletes with far more than the physical benefits of sport. It’s about fun, friendships and team spirit; it’s about a feeling of belonging, and ultimately improving quality of life. Special Olympics changes lives in so many different ways. Through sport, athletes develop both physically and emotionally, they make new friends, realise their dreams, and feel a sense of belonging. Special Olympics enables them to achieve and win not only in sport but in life too.