Nicole Scherzinger has been a Special Olympics (SO) ambassador since 2013. We caught up with actress, TV personality and equality activist to find out what the organisation means to her.
Could you tell me a bit about why you became a global ambassador for Special Olympics?
My aunty has Down’s syndrome and has consistently blessed my family with her kind nature and spirit, and I wanted to find a way to use my voice and platform to raise awareness of Special Olympics and the incredible work they do.
What is your favourite aspect of working with Special Olympics?
Without a doubt, it’s developing relationships with the athletes both here with SOBG and also in the US. I’ve had the chance to watch them grow over the years and maintain long-lasting friendships as well as make new ones.
Has there been a highlight for you since you became a global ambassador in 2013?
The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games were in my hometown of Los Angeles, and I had the opportunity to perform at the Opening Ceremony. It was an incredible honour and we were joined by First Lady Michelle Obama.
I then spent the week watching various sports and meeting the incredible athletes.
Why do you think this organisation is so important to people with an intellectual disability?
The Special Olympics is an essential forum for people with intellectual disabilities, first and foremost because its a community which can be as small as your local town but operates on a global scale.
It promotes health and fitness and provides opportunities to explore a multitude of sports. The athletes grow and thrive in an environment that celebrates peoples differences and promotes everyones unique abilities.
The organisation enforces a ‘can do’ attitude and is a pioneer in changing the stigmas and ignorance surrounding intellectual disabilities.
Do you have a favourite sport/event to head along to with Special Olympics?
Without a doubt the gymnastics, I have such wonderful memories from the World Games in 2015 – such incredible talent! The team sports are always fun to watch too – the team spirit mixed with a little competition are gripping!
What advice would you give to Enable readers who are hesitant to get involved with Special Olympics due to nerves or the worry of starting something new?
I think the fear of starting something new is a commonality we all share, I certainly do! But the prospect of developing a new group of friends, the sense of community and the opportunity to maybe represent your town, city or even country is a really exciting thought!
I’ve made amazing friends through Special Olympics, travelled the world and seen the endless possibilities for the athletes – so, I would suggest taking a deep breath and making the decision to start something new and exciting!