Unified Sports

Unified Sports are designed to bring together equal numbers of athletes with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team with others of similar skill levels. Special Olympics Unified® Sports could include bocce, bowling, basketball, flag football, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball. Unified Partners must be at least 8 years old to participate and there is no age maximum.

All six of our areas offer Unified Sports. To find out what Unified Sports are offered in your area, contact your area staff.

Download the Unified Partner registration form.

Competitive

Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities and community partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities)

  • Inclusive sports program with approximately equal numbers of athletes and partners of similar age and ability
  • Compete without modification of Special Olympics Official Sports Rules
  • Teams may be eligible for advancement to State, Regional and World Games
Player Development
  • Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities + community partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities)
  • Inclusive sports program with approximately equal numbers of athletes and partners of similar age; teammate are not required to be of similar ability
  • Teammates of higher abilities serve as mentors to assist teammates of lower abilities in developing sport-specific skills and tactics, and in successfully participating in a cooperative team environment.
  • Because of differences in abilities, rules modifications are necessary and designed to both ensure meaningful involvement of all teammates and define for higher ability players their roles as mentors so they do not dominate play.
  • Teams may be eligible for advancement to state-level competition

Recreation
  • Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities + community partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities)
  • Inclusive recreational program that does not follow any prescribed training, competition and/or team composition requirements established by Special Olympics.
  • Recreational opportunities may take place in partnership with schools, sport clubs, the community and other private or public organizations as introductory one-day events, exhibitions or demonstrations (including Unified Sports Experiences) or ongoing activities such as physical education classes and intramurals.

See the Special Olympics website for more information.