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Unified Sports®

In a Unified basketball game between host Egypt and Algeria, Esraa Hussien of Egypt looks up before shooting. Basketball was one of several sports played that featured teams of people with and without intellectual disabilities.

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.


300x200 New Jersey Soccer team

Members of the unified soccer team for Special Olympics New Jersey saw the new unified sports legislation signed into law. Learn More

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.


Unified Sports® Coaching Guides

Unfied Sports® Stories and News


January 22, 2015 | North America: Colorado

Winter X Games Hosts Unified® Competition

By Rafael Pacheco

Cody Field, Special Olympics Snowboarder, practices in preparation for the X Games first Special Olympics Unified® competition.

Cody Field, Special Olympics snowboard world champion, competed for X Games glory along with nine other Special Olympics snowboarders who were paired with veteran pro riders in a combined-time race for the event's first Special Olympics Unified® competition.View Story Cody Field, Special Olympics snowboard world champion, competed for X Games glory along with nine other Special Olympics snowboarders who were paired with veteran pro riders in a combined-time race for the event's first Special Olympics Unified® competition.

About Rafael Pacheco:I am the e-Communications Product Manager for Special Olympics.
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December 24, 2014 | Latin America: Mexico

Orlando Daniel Martinez Unified Partner

By Paola Martinelli

Unified Team of Guanajuato

Being part of a unified Special Olympics team has made me mature as an athlete and as a person. The experience of being able to travel and compete at a high level with my colleagues in my country is what delighted me in Special Olympics.View Story Being part of a unified Special Olympics team has made me mature as an athlete and as a person. The experience of being able to travel and compete at a high level with my colleagues in my country is what delighted me in Special Olympics The biggest challenges is how to train in a unified team and win the next World Games in Los Angeles California. I would say to others who do not belong to a unified team to come and experience the different Special Olympics disciplines because things are very nice in inclusive living. Being in a unified team trying to my colleagues but beyond brotherhood.

About Paola Martinelli:National Director of Communications and Marketing
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December 24, 2014 | Latin America: Mexico

Hector Romo Unified Sports Coach

By Paola Martinelli

My participation in Special Olympics has been coaching in different disciplines: athletics, bocce, 5 men team soccer and now unified sports with 20 young athletes of Special education located in Tulancingo de in Bravo State of Hidalgo.View Story My participation in Special Olympics has been coaching in different disciplines: athletics, bocce, 5 men team soccer and now unified sports with 20 young athletes of Special education located in Tulancingo de in Bravo State of Hidalgo. When working with a unified football team, the team allowed me to observe the special youth feel more secure in their participation and actually to be part of team competition. The group integration in unified sports for the young people supported caring among all and resulted in sensitization of them and their families as it was a new experience for both groups.

About Paola Martinelli:National Director of Communications and Public Relations
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Do You Have a Story to Share?

Got news or a great Unified Sports® story to share? Share with our online form.


Unified Sports® Events


Date

Event

Location

February 14, 2015

4th Annual NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Basketball Game

Twelve (12) Special Olympics athletes have been selected to participate in this season’s NBA Cares Unified Sports®Basketball Game. This Special Olympics Unified Sports® experience will combine an equal number of Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) on teams for a 5-­-on-­-5 Basketball game with 12 players on each team. Each team will be comprised of 6 NBA legends and WNBA players and 6 Special Olympics athletes. The game will be played for 40 minutes with two 20-­-minute halves running time with a 10-­-minute half-­-time break.
For more information
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Madison Square Garden
4 Pennsylvania Plaza

New York, New York
UNITED STATES

February 15, 2015

Quinnipiac Men's Basketball Game

Join us February 15th at TD Bank Sports Arena in Hamden, Connecticut and see Special Olympics Unified Sports® teams the Cherire Rams play the Wilby Wildcats during halftime at the Quinnipiac Men's Basketball Game! For more details please use the contact information below.
For more information
More Details
Special Olympics Connecticut
Email:specialolympicsct@soct.org
Phone:203-230-1201
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TD Bank Sports Arena
305 Sherman Avenue

Hamden, Connecticut
UNITED STATES

Feb 23 - 24 2015

2015 Winter Games - Maryland

Join us 23-24 February 2015 at Whitetail Ski Resort in Mercersburg, Maryland for two days of snowshoe and alpine skiing competition. The alpine skiing events will include: Advanced Giant Slalom, Advanced Slalom, Advanced Slalom (Unified), Advanced Super G, Advanced Super G (Unified), Intermediate Giant Slalom, Intermediate Slalom, Intermediate Slalom (Unified), Intermediate Super G, Intermediate Super G (Unified), Novice Giant Slalom, Novice Slalom, Super Glide, Glide. The snowshoe events will include: 25 meter, 50 meter, 100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter, 800 meter, 1600 meter, 5 kilometer, 10 kilometer, 4 x 100 meter relay, 4 x 200 meter relay, 4 x 400 meter relay, 4 x 100 meter relay (Unified), 4 x 200 meter relay (Unified), 4 x 400 meter relay (Unified). For more information please refer to the details and contact info below.
For more information
More Details
Mike Czarnowsky
Email:mczarnowsky@somd.org
Phone:410-242-1515
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Ski Whitetail
13805 Blairs Valley Road

Mercersburg, Maryland
UNITED STATES

Feb 28 - Mar 1 2015

Special Olympics Connecticut Winter Games

You are invited to join us on February 28th through March 1st to cheer on our athletes and witness great displays of sportsmanship, teamwork and personal achievements in sports. Athletes will be competing in following sports at the following venues: Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding at Ski Sundown, New Hartford; Cross-Country Skiing, Snowshoeing at Connecticut Light & Power, Simsbury; Figure Skating, Speed Skating at the International Skating Center of Connecticut, Simsbury; and Unified Sports® & Traditional Floor Hockey, Skills at the Pratt & Whitney Hangar, East Hartford. Winter Games competitions will kick-off with opening ceremonies at each venue that include the ceremonial lighting of the Special Olympics Flame of Hope, announcement of athletes, brief remarks, and the declaration of Special Olympics’ Athlete Oath. Events conclude with the presentation of awards. This event is open to public to attend at now cost. For more details please use the contact information below.
For more information
More Details
Special Olympics Connecticut
Email:specialolympicsct@soct.org
Phone:203-230-1201
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Various Venues
Various Cities, Connecticut
UNITED STATES

Mar 21 - 22 2015

2015 Basketball Tournament

Join us 21-22 March 2015 in Frederick, Maryland as over 400 athletes and 70 Unified partners from around the state compete in two days of basketball tournament action. Events will include 5 v. 5 traditional competition and well as 5 v. 5 Unified competition. For schedule and location details please refer to link below.
For more information
Schedule Details
Mike Czarnowsky
Email:mczarnowsky@somd.org
Phone:410-242-1515
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Hood College
401 Rosemont Ave

Frederick, Maryland
UNITED STATES

Mar 28 - 29 2015

Unified® Duckpin Tournaments

Athletes across the state of Rhode Island will be competing in Unified Duckpin Bowling tournaments at Town Hall Lanes in Johnston, Rhode, Island. Athletes and Unified partners will compete in teams of 4. Teams will compete on a selected competition day. Saturday March 28th competitions will be held from 2:30-4:30pm. Sunday, March 29th competitions will be held from 12-2pm.
For more information
More Details
Chris Hopkins
Email:chris@specialolympicsri.org
Phone:401-349-4900
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Town Hall Lanes
1463 Atwood Avenue

Johnston, Rhode Island
UNITED STATES

April 18, 2015

Unified® Ten Pin Bowling Tournament

Join us April 18th at AMF Lanes in Cranston, Rhode Island as our athletes and their Unified Partners compete and show their skill in ten pin bowling competition. Come and cheer them on and witness the power of sports. For more details please use the contact information below.
For more information
More Details
Chris Hopkins
Email:chris@specialolympicsri.org
Phone:401-349-4900
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AMF Lanes
1450 Elmwood Avenue

Cranston, Rhode Island
UNITED STATES

May 29 - 31 2015

2015 New Mexico State Summer Games

Join us for the largest state competition of the year May 29-31. Athletes from across the state will compete in track & field, bocce, and Unified volleyball at the University of New Mexico Track and Field Stadium. Come and cheer on our athletes and witness the power of sports. Hope to see you there!
For more information
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University of New Mexico Track and Field Stadium
Albuquerque, New Mexico
UNITED STATES

Jun 5 - 7 2015

2015 Maryland Summer Games

Join us 5-7 June 2015 at Towson University in Towson, Maryland as our athletes compete in 3 days of exciting summer sports competition. Events will include: Aquatics – traditional individual events and team relays, Unified team relays; Athletics – traditional and Unified track, mini-javelin, high jump, long jump, pentathlon, softball throw, shot put, standing long jump, tennis ball throw; Bocce – singles, doubles, Unified doubles; Cheerleading – traditional and Unified team competition; Softball – traditional team competition, Unified team competition, individual skills competition. For schedule details please refer to the link, below.
For more information
Schedule Details
Mike Czarnowsky
Email:mczarnowsky@somd.org
Phone:410-242-1515
View More

Towson University
8000 York Ave

Towson, Maryland
UNITED STATES

Do you have an event to add?

Tell us about it so we can publish the details to our calendar.

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How to Get Involved in Special Olympics

Special Olympics sports training, coaching and competitions go on in more than 170 countries around the world. You can get involved by getting in touch with the closest Special Olympics office.

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Made Possible by The Annenberg Foundation

The Special Olympics movement is profoundly grateful for the support of the Annenberg Foundation which has underwritten the production of the coaches’ guides and resources, supporting our global goals for coaches’ excellence.

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Videos and Photos

Coaching in SerbiaCoaches from three countries met in Serbia to hone their skills.See slideshow »


Videos and Photos

In Deep WaterGo feet first for one of the newest Special Olympics sports.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Summer SportsOur athletes run, jump, swim and score in summer.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

Power of SportsSports are a powerful way to change our athlete’s lives.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

First Unity CupSpecial Olympics uses football to promote understanding.See Slideshow »


Videos and Photos

What We DoSports, health, education, community and more.See Slideshow »



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