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. About 1.4 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

  • 7月
    26
    Eunice Kennedy Shriver's Day in Rwanda
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    周三 7月 26, 2017
    09:30 AM - 04:00 PM
    location
    Rulindo District
    Northern Province
    Rwanda

    Eunice Kennedy Shriver's Day in Rwanda

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    周三 7月 26, 2017
    09:30 AM - 04:00 PM

    Join us on 26 July at G.S Rukingu School in the Rulindo District, Northern Province as we light the Flame of Hope and celebrate Eunice Kennedy Shriver's legacy through a day of Unified Football(Soccer) and Athletics competition.


    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    G.S Rukingu School
    Rulindo District, Northern Province
    Rwanda
  • 8月
    01
    Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Soccer Experience, Presented by MLS Works and ESPN
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    周二 8月 01, 2017
    05:00 PM - 06:30 PM
    location
    Bridgeview
    Illinois
    USA

    Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Soccer Experience, Presented by MLS Works and ESPN

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    周二 8月 01, 2017
    05:00 PM - 06:30 PM

    Pre-selected athletes, teammates and coaches representing all 22 MLS Clubs will converge on Chicago, IL to participate in an East vs West MLS All-Star Unified soccer match.


    Venue(s)
    location
    Toyota Park
    7000 South Harlem Avenue
    Bridgeview, Illinois
    USA
    Home of the MLS Club Chicago Fire
  • 8月
    07
    Garden State Unified Golf Classic
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    周一 8月 07, 2017
    09:30 AM - 06:00 PM
    location
    Mount Laurel
    New Jersey
    USA

    Garden State Unified Golf Classic

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    周一 8月 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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  • 8月 07 - 8月 12
    Special Olympics Great Britain 2017 National Games
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    周一 8月 7 - 周六 8月 12, 2017
     
    location
    Sheffield S2 4SU
    Great Britain

    Special Olympics Great Britain 2017 National Games

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    周一 8月 7 - 周六 8月 12, 2017
     

    The next Special Olympics Great Britain’s National Summer Games is the country’s largest multi-sports event for athletes with intellectual disabilities of 2017. As our flagship event, it is held every 4 years and represents a huge opportunity to showcase the abilities of children and adults with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to compete at a national level, experience the personal achievement this brings, as well as enable them to make friends, travel and socialise.


    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Sheffield United FC
    Bramall Lane
    Sheffield S2 4SU
    Great Britain
  • 8月
    09
    Unified Ladies Tournament
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    周三 8月 09, 2017
    09:00 AM - 02:00 PM
    location
    Mogwase
    North West
    South Africa

    Unified Ladies Tournament

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    周三 8月 09, 2017
    09:00 AM - 02:00 PM

    Special Olympics South Africa Athletes from Holy Family Combined school will be hosting a Unified ladies football tournament

    Contact information

    • Piet Seroke
      Special Olympics South Africa Football Champion
      078 417 3927
    Venue(s)
    location
    Holy Family Sport Ground
    Mogwase Unit 4, 0314
    Mogwase, North West
    South Africa
  • 8月 17 - 8月 20
    Special Olympics North America Softball Championship
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    周四 8月 17 - 周日 8月 20, 2017
     
    location
    2 venues
    USA

    Special Olympics North America Softball Championship

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    周四 8月 17 - 周日 8月 20, 2017
     

    More than 400 athletes and Unified partners comprising 28 teams from throughout the United States and Canada will be competing in the sport of softball in Special Olympics traditional team and Unified Sports (people with and without intellectual disabilities playing as teammates) formats.


    Venue(s)
    location
    Clem Kelly Softball Complex
    517 W. Arbor Ave
    Bismarck, North Dakota
    USA
    All competition will take place here.
    location
    Municipal Ballpark
    303 W. Front Ave
    Bismarck, North Dakota
    USA
    Location for Opening Ceremony, Parade of Athletes, concert and fireworks display.
  • 8月 31 - 9月 04
    European Unified Volleyball Tournament 2017 in Poland
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    周四 8月 31 - 周一 9月 04, 2017
     
    location
    Kraków
    Poland

    European Unified Volleyball Tournament 2017 in Poland

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    周四 8月 31 - 周一 9月 04, 2017
     

    100 athletes from 10 countries will participate in this years European Unified Volleyball Tournament in Katowice Poland.

    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Tauron Arena Kraków
    Stanisława Lema 7, 31-571
    Kraków
    Poland
  • 9月 15 - 9月 17
    South Dakota Fall Classic
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    周五 9月 15 - 周日 9月 17, 2017
     
    location
    Mitchell
    South Dakota
    USA

    South Dakota Fall Classic

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    周五 9月 15 - 周日 9月 17, 2017
     

    We are expecting 200 athletes and Unified partners to participate in our 2nd State Bocce Tournament. Over 300 athletes are expected to participate in our State Softball Tournament. Teams will compete in traditional team slow-pitch, Unified slow-pitch and t-ball competition over this two day tournament.

    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Cadwell Park
    W. 13th Ave.
    Mitchell, South Dakota
    USA
  • 9月
    24
    One More Tri - Unified Triathlon
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    周日 9月 24, 2017
    08:30 AM - 12:00 PM
    location
    Asbury Park
    New Jersey
    USA

    One More Tri - Unified Triathlon

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    周日 9月 24, 2017
    08:30 AM - 12:00 PM

    One More Tri, the only unified triathlon in the state, embraces the idea that sports can unify all of us. It's more than a race - it’s a Unified Triathlon Experience where triathletes of all skill levels compete side-by-side with Special Olympics athletes. This race is inspired by a simple principle: the act of competing together ensures a quick path to understanding, acceptance, and friendship. All proceeds support Special Olympics New Jersey, a non-profit organization that provides free year-round sports training and athletic competition in 24 Olympic-type sports for more than 25,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities.


    Related Link(s):www.OneMoreTri.org

    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Asbury Park
    Asbury and Ocean Ave
    Asbury Park, New Jersey
    USA
  • 10月
    14
    Unified Bowling Nebraska (East)
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    周六 10月 14, 2017
    10:00 AM - 02:00 PM
    location
    Omaha
    Nebraska
    USA

    Unified Bowling Nebraska (East)

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    周六 10月 14, 2017
    10:00 AM - 02:00 PM

    Join us on Saturday, October 14th at Maplewood Lanes in Omaha, Nebraska as athletes and their Unified partners compete in Unified Bowling competition.


    Related Link(s):Learn more

    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Maplewood Lanes
    3030 N 101st St
    Omaha, Nebraska
    USA
  • 10月
    14
    North Las Vegas Police & First Responders Memorial Basketball
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    周六 10月 14, 2017
    08:00 AM - 01:00 PM
    location
    North Las Vegas
    Nevada
    USA

    North Las Vegas Police & First Responders Memorial Basketball

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    周六 10月 14, 2017
    08:00 AM - 01:00 PM

    It will be the battle of the badges when Law Enforcement, First Responders and the community take to the basketball courts to earn bragging rights as the best basketball team in all of Las Vegas!  Teams are  limited to 3 - 5 players and registration is only $30 per person.  Teams are encouraged to raise additional funds and those who raise a minimum of $1,000 will have a Special Olympics athlete play on their team. Spectators are welcome and will be asked to make a donation at the door.


    Venue(s)
    location
    Legacy High School
    150 W Deer Springs
    North Las Vegas, Nevada
    USA
  • 10月 19 - 10月 22
    Special Olympics North America Tennis Championship
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    周四 10月 19 - 周日 10月 22, 2017
     
    location
    Hilton Head Island
    South Carolina
    USA

    Special Olympics North America Tennis Championship

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    周四 10月 19 - 周日 10月 22, 2017
     

    Athletes will come from around North America to compete in Levels 1-5 in Singles, Doubles and Unified match play. Van der Meer Tennis Center in the Shipyard Plantation on Hilton Head Island is hosting the event Oct 19-22.

    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Van der Meer Tennis Center
    Po Box 5902
    Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
    USA
  • 10月
    28
    Unified Soccer Tournament
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    周六 10月 28, 2017
    09:00 AM - 04:00 PM
    location
    Wilsonville
    Oregon
    USA

    Unified Soccer Tournament

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    周六 10月 28, 2017
    09:00 AM - 04:00 PM

    This event will bring together all official middle and high school Unified Soccer teams in Oregon to compete in a regional tournament. If you are interested in volunteering to keep score, please let us know and we can provide more information!

    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Wilsonville High School
    6800 SW Wilsonville Rd
    Wilsonville, Oregon
    USA
  • 11月 18 - 11月 19
    State Unified Bowling Tournament
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    周六 11月 18 - 周日 11月 19, 2017
     
    location
    Sioux Falls
    South Dakota
    USA

    State Unified Bowling Tournament

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    周六 11月 18 - 周日 11月 19, 2017
     

    This will be our 13th State Unified Tournament. We are expecting 300 bowlers to participate in doubles and team events.

    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Eastway Bowl
    3201 E. 10th St.
    Sioux Falls, South Dakota
    USA
  • 3月 14 - 3月 23
    2018 SO MENA 9th Regional Games
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    周三 3月 14 - 周五 3月 23, 2018
     
    location

    2018 SO MENA 9th Regional Games

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    周三 3月 14 - 周五 3月 23, 2018
     

    The Regional games will take place from 14- 23 March 2018 with the participation of around 1800 athletes competing in 16 different sports , 450 coaches, 3000 volunteers and 100 honored guests. On the sidelines of the games several initiatives will be held: Healthy athletes program- Families forum- Young athletes demo- Youth Summit.