Athletic Achievements

Special Olympics athlete since 1970; still participates today
Has run 26 marathons thus far in her life
  • In 1981 was the first Special Olympics athlete to run the Boston Marathon - her time, 3:09

  • Her personal best time 3:03 in the 1982 Boston Marathon

  • In 1988 was one of the top 25 female finishers of the Pittsburgh Marathon

Competed in over 300+ local and state Special Olympics events in Pennsylvania
Competed in 6 Special Olympics World Games and medaled in the following events
  • GOLD - 1 mile run ('83); Baton Rouge, LA

  • GOLD - half-marathon & SILVER - 5,000m run ('91); Minneapolis - St. Paul, MN

  • Two (2) GOLDS - bowling ('95); New Haven, CT

  • GOLD - half-marathon & SILVER - 3,000m run ('99); Raleigh-Durham, NC

  • GOLD - 3000m run & BRONZE - 1500m run ('03); Dublin, Ireland

  • SILVER - figure skating ('05); Nagano, Japan

Holds a 4th degree black belt in Karate
Continues to train in Special Olympics York County Pennsylvania in the following sports: alpine skiing, aquatics, athletics, basketball, bowling, figure skating, golf, soccer, softball, and tennis.

Professional Service

Current Board of Directors Member of Special Olympics Inc. - Washington, DC

•  Executive Committee

•  International Advisory Committee

Currently the Chief Inspiration Officer for Special Olympics Inc.

Loretta is the first Special Olympics athlete invited to serve in this role.

Global Speaker for Special Olympics

Awards & Recognition

ESPY Award Recipient in 1996

Arthur Ashe Award for Courage

Introduced President Bill Clinton at the 1995 Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremonies
Hall of Fame Inductions
TEDx Talks: "Let's Talk About Intellectual Disabilities" Loretta Claiborne at TEDxMidAtlantic
Invited to the White House Dinner Celebration and recognized by Presidents Obama, G.W. Bush, Clinton, G.H. Bush, and Reagan
FIFA 'de International Conference for Equality and Inclusion, Zurich, Switzerland: Invited Speaker
Invited guest speaker at the United Nations Summit, (2013 and 2015)
Recipient of three Honorary Doctorate Degrees
  • 2019: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from York College of Pennsylvania 

  • 2003: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Villanova University

  • 1995: Honorary Doctorate Degree from Quinnipiac University - first Special Olympics athlete to receive such an award

The achievements listed above are just a small snapshot of what Loretta has accomplished over the years. Click here favicon.ico to be inspired by Loretta Claiborne.