Welcome To Special Olympics International!

We are a global organization with programs in over 220 countries. This site may be customized by language and geographic region.

Unified Sports®

Team sports bring people together. Special Olympics Unified Sports® teams do that, too and much more. Half a million people worldwide take part in Unified Sports, breaking down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities in a really fun way.

Social Inclusion Through Sports

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, which 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 don't often get a chance to play on their school sports teams, but more and more U.S. states are adopting the unified sports approach that Special Olympics pioneered. The governor of New Jersey just signed a bill into law that encourages schools to make opportunities for sports participation available to all students. Special Olympics New Jersey, which championed the new law, is cited in the new law as a consulting organization. For almost 20 years, Special Olympics has offered sport teams that blend people with and without intellectual disabilities, and that is a model that encourages sports and fun, and which also gets people together to learn more about each other. Read more about the new law in our press release. 

Building Unified Sports With ESPN and Disney 

The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and Special Olympics have announced a two-year global initiative that will leverage the power of sports to promote an environment of social inclusion and acceptance through the Special Olympics Unified Sports program. With a multi-million dollar financial and in-kind investment, Disney and ESPN will support Special Olympics' goal of registering one million Unified Sports participants--athletes with intellectual disabilities, teammates without intellectual disabilities and coaches--by 2015. Read more about this exciting news

In addition, thanks to the generosity of Special Olympics Board Member Kim Samuel and her family's foundation, Special Olympics has been able to build capacity for Unified Sports through technology, enhanced education materials and seed grants to Special Olympics Programs that would not otherwise have the funds to start or expand Unified Sports.

Quizzes

Unified Sports® Events

  • May
    07
    Unified Volleyball Tournament
    May 07, 2016 - May 07, 2016
     
    Smithfield
    Rhode Island
    Unified Volleyball Tournament

    Join us as 360 athletes and unified partners from 18 teams across the state participate in 6 weeks of league-play games at Bryant University under the direction of the Bryant University Women's Volleyball team and Johnson & Wales University under the direction of Johnson & Wales Men's & Women's Volleyball teams. Weekly games lead up to the Unified Volleyball Tournament which will be held at Bryant University on Saturday, May 7th. Opening Ceremonies will be at 8:45am and games begin at 10am.

    For more information
    More Details
    Contact: Chris Hopkins
    Email: chris@specialolympicsri.org
    Phone: 401-349-4900

    May 07, 2016 - May 07, 2016
     
    Bryant University
    1150 Douglas Turnpike
    Smithfield, Rhode Island
    UNITED STATES
  • May
    07
    Unified Soccer Tournament
    May 07, 2016
    09:00 AM - 03:00 PM
    Bonner Springs
    Kansas
    Unified Soccer Tournament

    The Kansas Unified Sports League will host its culminating tournament. KC area high schools, middle schools and adults will compete against teams of similar age and ability. Teams are comprised of Special Olympics athletes and volunteer partners who work together to enhance their skills and form friendships. Exemplifying that "Together, we will achieve."

    For more information
    More Details
    Contact: Clint Armistead
    Email: armisteadc@ksso.org
    Phone: 913-236-9092

    May 07, 2016
    09:00 AM - 03:00 PM
    David Jaynes Stadium
    100 McDanield St
    Bonner Springs, Kansas
    UNITED STATES
  • May
    13
    Unified Sailing Regatta
    May 13, 2016 - May 15, 2016
     
    Rotterdam
    NETHERLANDS
    Unified Sailing Regatta

    A maximum of 50 athletes with intellectual disabilities will pair up with 50 athletes without intellectual disabilities to compete in this annual sailing event. The event is taking place in association with Olympus Nederland and Ronde Tafel (www.rondetafel.nl).

    For more information
    Contact: Rachel Richardson
    Email: r.richardon@specialolympics.nl

    May 13, 2016 - May 15, 2016
     
    Kralingse Plas
    Rotterdam
    NETHERLANDS
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