Special Olympics athletes in an intense game of unified basketball.

Unified Sports®

Team sports bring people together. Special Olympics Unified Sports® teams do that, too and much more. More than 1.2 million people worldwide take part in Unified Sports, breaking down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities in a really fun way. ESPN has served as the Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports since 2013, supporting the growth and expansion of this program that empowers individuals with and without intellectual disabilities to engage through the power of sports.

Promoting Social Inclusion Through Sport

Special Olympics is dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences. Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding. 

In Unified Sports, teams are made up of people of similar age and ability. That makes practices more fun and games more challenging and exciting for all. Having sport in common is just one more way that preconceptions and false ideas are swept away. 

U.S. States Embracing Unified Sports

Young people with disabilities do not often get a chance to play on their school sports teams. More and more U.S. states are adopting the Unified Sports approach that Special Olympics pioneered.

Unified Sports is also an integral part of Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools, which was founded in 2008 and funded through the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education to use Special Olympics as a way to build inclusion and tolerance in schools. Unified Sports are now in more than 4500 elementary, middle and high schools in the United States.  Seventy percent of Unified Champion Schools (Pre-K through Grade 12) are engaging in Unified Sports!  Also 215 US colleges and universities have Special Olympics College Clubs on campus, providing ongoing Unified and inclusionary activities for students and Special Olympics athletes.  73 of the 215 US colleges and universities activating Special Olympics College conduct ongoing Unified Sports on their campus.  Learn how to get involved, visit: www.playunified.org.

Our Partners

  • ESPN
  • U.S. Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education (OSEP)
  • Kim Samuel and the Samuel Family Foundation
  • Perfect Sense
  • Y&R
  • Burson-Marsteller
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • WWE
  • NBA
  • MLS Works
  • Uniqlo
  • Seiko
  • NIRSA
  • NFHS
  • EuroLeague
  • UNICEF
  • UEFA
  • FIFA Football for Hope
  • King Baudouin Foundation

Major sports organization, league and event support to Play Unified

Many high-profile, professional sports organizations and events have also showcased Unified Sports as a vehicle to show the power of inclusive sports!  This support includes:

National Basketball Association (NBA),

Major League Soccer (MLS),

Union of European Football Associations (UEFA),

National Collegiate Athletic Association, D-III,

ESPN's X Games Aspen,

National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) and

National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA). 

Quizzes

Unified Sports® Events

  • июн
    23
    Markgraf Sport and Leadership Academy Unified Sports Day
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    Пт июн 23, 2017
    12:00 PM - 02:00 PM
    location
    Milwaukee
    Wisconsin
    USA

    Markgraf Sport and Leadership Academy Unified Sports Day

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    Пт июн 23, 2017
    12:00 PM - 02:00 PM

    Markgraf Sport and Leadership Academy is a multifaceted camp for girls using soccer, theater, mindfulness, and yoga to stretch participants’ comfort zones and equip them with the tools to overcome challenges. MSLA’s goal is build empowered leaders who are allies to the greater community. Special Olympics Wisconsin has been offered the unique opportunity in which SOWI athletes will be placed on a MSLA camper’s team. The new unified team will compete in small-sided soccer games and track events. Registration: Because the age limit of the camp, we are restricting participation to athletes 8-14 only; Athletes must have valid medicals on file; There are only a limited number of spots and registration will close once we reach that limit.


    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    University School of Milwaukee
    2100 W Fairy Chasm Rd
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    USA
  • июл 10 - июл 12
    Special Olympics Nordrhein-Westfalen Regional Games 2017
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    Пн июл 10 - Ср июл 12, 2017
     
    location
    44135 Dortmund
    Nordrhein-Westfalen
    Germany

    Special Olympics Nordrhein-Westfalen Regional Games 2017

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    Пн июл 10 - Ср июл 12, 2017
     

    From the 10-12 July 2017, the Special Olympics Nordrhein-Westfalen Regional Games will be hosted in Neuss near the river Rhine. About 1000 athletes are expected to compete in 12 different of sports (athletics, badminton, basketball, bocce, equestrian, football, golf, judo, roller skating, swimming, and table tennis). There will also be a big opening ceremony, 4 healthy athletes disciplines (Fit Feet, Health Promotion, Fun Fitness and Strong Minds) and MATP. It will be lots of fun! So, if you are nearby, come around and enjoy the games with us!


    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Marc Becker
    Leuthardstraße 9
    44135 Dortmund, Nordrhein-Westfalen
    Germany
  • авг
    07
    Garden State Unified Golf Classic
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    Пн авг 07, 2017
    09:30 AM - 06:00 PM
    location
    Mount Laurel
    New Jersey
    USA

    Garden State Unified Golf Classic

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    Пн авг 07, 2017
    09:30 AM - 06:00 PM

    The Garden State Unified Golf Classic is an 18-hole golf tournament to benefit Special Olympics New Jersey. This inaugural event will benefit the over 25,000 Special Olympics New Jersey athletes who compete year-round in more than 260 competition events across 24 Olympic-type sports, as well as provide health programs, leadership opportunities and Unified programs–all completely free of charge. Our Special Olympics athletes will be playing alongside many of the golfers during the course of this tournament.

    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Laurel Creek Country Club
    701 Centerton Road
    Mount Laurel, New Jersey
    USA
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