The announcement was marked by a signing ceremony at the Tokyo office of Toyota, attended by Special Olympics Chairman, Timothy Shriver, Toyota President, Akio Toyoda, Special Olympics Japan President & CEO, Yuko Arimori, and athletes and families participating in Special Olympics.
Through sports, health, school and youth engagement, the Special Olympics Movement dramatically transforms lives by unifying people with and without intellectual disabilities to end discrimination and create inclusion.
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, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. Special Olympics (headquartered in Washington, D.C.) has 5.7 million athletes in 172 countries and regions.
In addition to the Global Partnership with Special Olympics, Toyota has agreed to support the Special Olympics Unified Sports which joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.
Beginning in 2018, Toyota will be supporting Special Olympics Unified Sports programming primarily in Japan and the United States.
In addition, Toyota's affiliates have been supporting Special Olympics United States- based Programs as well as the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
The designation details of the sponsorship are as follows:
- Global Gold Partner (2018–2022)
- Global Unified Sports Partner (2018–2020)
- Unified Cup Partner (July 17–21, 2018 in Chicago)
Special Olympics Chairman Shriver said the following about this sponsorship:
President Akio Toyoda said:
"We would like to thank everyone involved in Special Olympics, including Chairman Timothy Shriver, for accepting Toyota as Global Partner. From my own experience playing sports in my school days, I believe in the power of sports where people with various characters can come together and compete for the same goal. This leads to creating a society where people have respect for each other.
"Unified Sports further achieves this goal. The Toyota members who are involved in Special Olympics all love and believe in sports. We would like to contribute to building recognition towards Special Olympics appeal working together with athletes."
Toyota has recently announced a Global Corporate Initiative, "Start Your Impossible", and will promote Special Olympic activities in parallel.
On Nov. 18, at a B League basketball game between Alvark Tokyo and Levanga Hokkaido at the Arena Tachikawa Tachihi, Toyota will hold a Unified Sports demonstration and signing ceremony in order to invigorate Special Olympics in Japan even further. Special Olympics Chairman Shriver and Special Olympics Board of Directors member, Dikembe Mutombo, will attend and join the celebration of diversity and inclusion.