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A Creator of Special Olympics, Dr. Frank Hayden Inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame

/EIN News/ -- TORONTO, ON, Oct. 31, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Special Olympics Canada is excited to celebrate Dr. Frank Hayden and his induction into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in the Builder category. Dr. Hayden, a creator of the Special Olympics movement and long-time advocate for individuals with an intellectual disability, will officially be recognized for his contribution to sport in Canada by being inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame on November 1, 2016.

In the early 1960's Dr. Hayden explored the effects of physical activity on individuals with an intellectual disability, catching the attention of the Kennedy Foundation in Washington, D.C. In 1965, Dr. Hayden moved to Washington to work alongside the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Founder of Special Olympics. Their shared belief in the power of sport to transform lives led to the first Special Olympics Games in 1968, held at Chicago's Soldier Field. By the early 1970's, Special Olympics had a presence in all 50 United States. The first Special Olympics Games in Canada were held in June, 1969 in Toronto with 1,400 athletes from across the country taking part. Thanks to Dr. Hayden's involvement in the creation of Special Olympics, the movement has grown to include over 4.5 million athletes from more than 170 countries throughout the world.

"We are so incredibly proud that Dr. Hayden is being honored by the Canadian sport community," said Sharon Bollenbach, CEO, Special Olympics Canada. "Dr. Hayden's integral role in the creation of this global movement has allowed an often marginalized segment of our population to demonstrate to the world their abilities and realize their true potential. Dr. Hayden's life work has changed the world for the better and Special Olympics Canada is delighted his contributions are being recognized and will go down in Canadian sport history."

Canada's Sports Hall of Fame will officially be inducting Dr. Frank Hayden on November 1, 2016 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The only 2016 inductee in the Builder category, Dr. Hayden will be inducted alongside sport greats Michael "Pinball" Clemons, Bryan Trottier, Sue Halloway, Annie Perreault, Stephanie Dixon and Colleen Jones. Special Olympics Canada would like to congratulate all the 2016 inductees on their incredible accomplishments.

About Special Olympics Canada

Established in 1969, the Canadian chapter of this international movement is dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with an intellectual disability through the transformative power and joy of sport. Operating out of sport clubs in all Canadian provinces and territories, except Nunavut, this grassroots movement reaches beyond the sphere of sport to empower individuals, change attitudes and build communities. From two-year-olds to mature adults, more than 42,500 athletes with an intellectual disability are registered in Special Olympics year-round programs across Canada. They are supported by more than 20,500 volunteers, including more than 15,700 trained coaches.

For more information, visit www.specialolympics.ca or follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@SpecialOCanada).

CONTACT: Lisa Dunbar
         Director, Marketing & Communications, Special Olympics Canada
         T: 416.927.9050, ext. 4383
         C: 905-751-6222
         Ldunbar@specialolympics.ca
         OR
         Allison Love
         Communications Officer, Special Olympics Canada
         T: 416.927.9050, ext. 4312
         C: 416.301.4636
         Alove@secialolympics.ca
Distribution channels: Education, Sports, Fitness & Recreation