Gold Medal Gala

Barry Switzer Award of Excellence Honoree: Tim Shriver

Special Olympics Oklahoma has been honored and blessed to have had Barry Switzer as our Head Coach for over 45 years! Coach Switzer has done so much for individuals with intellectual disabilities and made a huge difference in the lives of our athletes over the years. By taking the time to high five the athletes, or lead us in the Special Olympics athlete oath, or challenge a young athlete to keep training hard for the upcoming event, or just providing a hug showing his compassionate support, these are the types of things that the Head Coach brings to Special Olympics Oklahoma. Barry Switzer was presented an award at the inaugural Gold Medal Gala in 2016. The award has now been named in his honor.

We are so excited to honor Tim Shriver at this year’s Gold Medal Gala! Tim Shriver is the Chairman of Special Olympics International, and serves with over 6.7 million Special Olympics athletes and their families in 200 countries since 1996.

During his time as Chairman, Special Olympics has developed proven programming for all aspects of a Special Olympics athlete’s life: leadership, health, education, and family support. His commitment to inclusion is evident in the Special Olympics athletes serving on the international Board of Directors, hundreds of thousands of health professionals trained in adaptive health care protocols, partnerships with organizations like the World Health Organization, and Unified Champion Schools creating a Unified Generation in which all people are included and accepted.

Shriver drove the largest expansion of Special Olympics, growing the movement from one million athletes to over six million athletes and unified partners leading the inclusion revolution around the world. Shriver has harnessed the power of Hollywood to challenge unconscious bias and share stories of inspiration, co-producing DreamWorks Studios’ 1997 release, Amistad, and Disney Studios’ 2000 release, The Loretta Claiborne Story. He is Executive Producer of The Ringer, a Farrelly Brothers film, Front of the Class, a Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie and The Peanut Butter Falcon released in 2019, and “As Far As They Can Run,” shortlisted for the 95th Academy Awards for Best Documentary Short Film in 2022.

In 2014, Shriver wrote the New York Times bestseller Fully Alive: Discovering What Matters Most, where he shares the life changing impact of people with intellectual disabilities and their capacity to inspire others to see the world in a more meaningful way. Before joining Special Olympics, he cofounded and currently chairs the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). He is a member of the editorial board of the Disability and Health Journal. Shriver is Founder of UNITE, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, President of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, UNESCO Chair for “Transforming the Lives of People with Disabilities, their Families and Communities, Through Physical Education, Sport, Recreation and Fitness” at the Institute of Technology, Tralee, Ireland.

Shriver earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University, a Master’s degree in Religion and Religious Education from Catholic University, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Connecticut.