Mary Davis


Special Olympics International


Mary Davis is the Chief Executive Officer of Special Olympics International. In this role, she leads an international team of more than 200 professionals throughout the world who are addressing inactivity, injustice, intolerance and social isolation for people with intellectual disabilities. The Special Olympics movement currently serves nearly 5 million athletes with intellectual disabilities, holds more than 94,000 competitions annually and welcomes more than one million coaches and volunteers who help make grassroots operations possible.

Mary started with Special Olympics soon after college as a local program volunteer and coach. Since then she has served in a series of leadership roles, helping create our first-ever Regional games, the 1985 Special Olympics European Games, working to build a powerful national Program as CEO of Special Olympics Ireland, and helping globalize our movement as CEO of the first Special Olympics World Summer Games held outside the US. She also served as Regional President of the Europe Eurasia Region of Special Olympics, overseeing the growth and development of Special Olympics across 58 countries in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia from 2009 - 2016. 

Mary Davis was the driving force behind the hugely successful Special Olympics World Summer Games when they were staged in Ireland in 2003. She served as CEO of these Games, which were the first World Summer Games held outside the U.S. since Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded the movement in 1968. It was the largest sporting event in the world that year. She was awarded Person of the Year in 2003 for her work on the Games, as well as recognition for her years of service with Special Olympics Ireland. In 2004, then-President of Ireland Mary McAleese appointed Mary Davis to her Council of State [advisory body to the President on legislative matters], where she remained until 2011.

Mary is married to Julian Davis and has four children: Jonathan, Rebecca, Emma and Patrick.