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Sport, Theology, and the Special Olympics: A Christian Theological Reflection

The authors explore the potential of the Special Olympic movement to act as a counternarrative and prophetic message to the big-business world of professional sports. Drawing on the work of pioneers in the field of theology of disability, such as Jean Vanier, John Swinton, Brian Brock, Amos Yong, and Stanley Hauerwas, the authors provide a brief overview of the key themes within the theology of disability, which are then deployed to analyze the Special Olympics. This section is prefaced with a succinct account of the modern sporting institution and its key characteristics from a theological standpoint. We conclude that “those that are excluded … those at the edge of the system” (Rohr, 1995 , p. 28)-Special Olympians-have an important and timely message for those within the system of big-business professional sport.