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 don't 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 the Special Olympics Unified Strategy for Schools, which was founded in 2008 and funded through 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 4300 middle and high schools in the United States.  Seventy percent of Unified Schools (Pre-K through Grade 12) are engaging in Unified Sports!  Also 215 US colleges and universities have Special Olympics 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.

For almost 30 years, Special Olympics has offered sport teams that blend people with and without intellectual disabilities. That is a model that encourages sports and fun. It also gets people together to learn more about each other.

In addition to establishing support from ESPN, the 'Worldwide Leader in Sports', to become the Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports, additional support for Unified Sports in markets across the world has included support from partners including: Lions Club International, The Kim Samuel Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education and many more.

Our Partners

  • ESPN
  • U.S. Department of Education
  • 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

  • avr.
    02
    Unified Sports Rivalry Series - Alabama vs. Ole Miss
    dim. avr. 02, 2017
    12:00 PM - 02:00 PM
    East Tuscaloosa
    Alabama
    USA

    Unified Sports Rivalry Series - Alabama vs. Ole Miss

    dim. avr. 02, 2017
    12:00 PM - 02:00 PM

    The Special Olympics Unified Sports Rivalry Series are games where each team represents one college rival team. The teams are comprised of students from the perspective universities and local Special Olympics athletes. This Series offers Special Olympics athletes a chance to be a part of hype of the varsity game and the challenge to defend their schools' titles!


    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    University of Alabama Main Recreation Center
    401 5th Ave.
    East Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    USA
  • mai
    06
    Unified Soccer Tournament
    sam. mai 06, 2017
    09:00 AM - 04:00 PM
    Bonner Springs
    Kansas
    USA

    Unified Soccer Tournament

    sam. mai 06, 2017
    09:00 AM - 04:00 PM

    The Unified Soccer Tournament will be held at Bonner Springs High School, 100 McDanield St, Bonner Springs, KS. The Tournament will begin at 9:00am. The Kansas Unified Sports League will host its culminatng soccer tournament of the season. Area high schools, middle schools and adult will compete against teams of similar ability in tournament-style competition. Teams are composed of Special Olympics athletes and volunteer partners who practice and compete together to enhance their skills and form friendships.


    Related Link(s):More Details

    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    Bonner Springs School District Campus
    100 McDaniel St
    Bonner Springs, Kansas
    USA
  • mai
    13
    Unified Champion Schools Soccer Tournament
    sam. mai 13, 2017
    09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
    Wilsonville
    Oregon
    USA

    Unified Champion Schools Soccer Tournament

    sam. mai 13, 2017
    09:00 AM - 05:00 PM

    Soccer tournament featuring over a dozen Unified soccer teams from across the state of Oregon.

    Contact information

    • Aaron Johnson
      Director of Unified Sports in Schools
      ajohnson@soor.org
      503-248-0600 ext 148
    Venue(s)
    Wilsonville High School
    6800 SW Wilsonville Rd
    Wilsonville, Oregon
    USA
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