It was an incredibly proud day for all at Special Olympics Great Britain recently as Team SOGB cyclist, SO Yorkshire & Humberside member and artistic entrepreneur Niall Guite became our first athlete to give a TEDx Talk.

Delivered through the University of Manchester’s TEDx programme, Niall gave a moving and powerful speech where he told a live audience of his story as an artist and gold medal-winning Special Olympian and how he manages with autism and intellectual disability.

Niall went into detail about the rise of his incredible ‘Art with a Special Goal’ business, which began in the first 2020 lockdown as part of the 2.6 challenge, but also how his introduction to Special Olympics and taking part in sport helped transform his confidence.

Niall was joined on stage for part of his talk by Special Olympics Great Britain Business Development Manager (Enterprise and Leadership), Tom Casson. He said: “By standing up on stage and speaking to a live audience, Niall faced and overcame what he has always said was one of his biggest challenges, talking.

“Through his regular participation in sporting events and his day-to-day operation of a successful social enterprise business, Niall consistently challenges the perceptions of what people with intellectual disabilities can achieve. He’s now become the first Special Olympics GB athlete to deliver a talk through the TEDx programme and he is an absolute inspiration to all of us.”

TED is a non-profit organisation that is devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). Its independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world and Niall’s talk will be available to view early in 2023.

Aidan Rhode, TEDx University of Manchester's Vice President, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to have Niall as one of our speakers - countless attendees have reached out since to say that Niall's talk was the highlight of the whole event.

“He was a true professional and a joy to have on board, and I hope to work with him and the Special Olympics GB again in future, to celebrate and share the stories of incredible and inspirational athletes like Niall.”