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

  • Feb
    11
    Basketball team 5 on 5
    Feb 11, 2016
    9:30 AM - 12:30 PM
    Lyman
    South Carolina
    Basketball team 5 on 5

    Join us February 11th at Limestone College in Lyman, South Carolina as our athletes compete and show their skill in 5 on 5 team basketball competition. Come and cheer on our athletes and witness the power of sports. For more details please use the contact information below.

    For more information
    Contact: Paula White
    Email: pgwhite@spart7.org
    Phone: 864-706-0043

    Feb 11, 2016
    9:30 AM - 12:30 PM
    Limestone College
    110 Maryland Ave
    Lyman, South Carolina
    UNITED STATES
  • Feb
    13
    Higgins Lake Polar Plunge
    Feb 13, 2016
    1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
    Roscommon
    Michigan
    Higgins Lake Polar Plunge

    The Higgins Lake Polar Plunge will take place on February 13, 2016 at the Gerrish Township Marina on Higgins Lake. Registration will begin at 1:00 p.m. The parade of costumes and plunge will begin at 2:00 p.m.

    For more information
    More Details
    Contact: Andrea Rachko
    Email: rachk1am@cmich.edu
    Phone: 989-774-3911

    Feb 13, 2016
    1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
    Gerrish Township Marina
    Roscommon, Michigan
    UNITED STATES
  • Feb
    13
    Lake Orion Polar Plunge
    Feb 13, 2016
    9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Lake Orion
    Michigan
    Lake Orion Polar Plunge

    Mark your calendars for February 13, 2016 The 2016 Lake Orion Polar Plunge will be held at the Lake Orion Buffalo Wild Wings. Registration will begin at 9:00 a.m. The parade of costumes and plunge will begin at 10:00 a.m. The Awards and Post Plunge Party will begin immediately following the last plunger.

    For more information
    More Details
    Contact: Andrea Rachko
    Email: rachk1am@cmich.edu
    Phone: 989-774-3911

    Feb 13, 2016
    9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Buffalo Wild Wings
    770 North Lapeer Road
    Lake Orion, Michigan
    UNITED STATES
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