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

  • août
    26
    South Carolina State Kayaking Competition
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    sam. août 26, 2017
    location
    Charleston
    South Carolina
    USA

    South Carolina State Kayaking Competition

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    sam. août 26, 2017

    Special Olympics South Carolina welcomes Special Olympics athletes training in the sport of kayaking for a one-day competitive event. The competition provides races for both Unified Sports teams and traditional Special Olympics athletes.


    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    James Island County Park
    871 Riverland Dr.
    Charleston, South Carolina
    USA
  • août 31 - sept. 04
    European Unified Volleyball Tournament 2017 in Poland
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    jeu. août 31 - lun. sept. 04, 2017
     
    location
    Kraków
    Poland

    European Unified Volleyball Tournament 2017 in Poland

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    jeu. août 31 - lun. sept. 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
  • sept.
    09
    Unified Champion Schools Youth Activation Summit
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    sam. sept. 09, 2017
    location
    Columbia
    South Carolina
    USA

    Unified Champion Schools Youth Activation Summit

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    sam. sept. 09, 2017

    Special Olympics South Carolina will host more than 400 middle and high school students from Unified Champion Schools statewide for a one-day leadership conference. The students, with and without intellectual disabilities, will explore ways of leading the Unified Champion School movement in their schools and communities while connecting with other youth leaders who share in this movement.


    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Columbia Convention Center
    1101 Lincoln St
    Columbia, South Carolina
    USA
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  • sept. 15 - sept. 17
    South Dakota Fall Classic
    clock
    ven. sept. 15 - dim. sept. 17, 2017
     
    location
    Mitchell
    South Dakota
    USA

    South Dakota Fall Classic

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    ven. sept. 15 - dim. sept. 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
  • sept.
    24
    One More Tri - Unified Triathlon
    clock
    dim. sept. 24, 2017
    08:30 AM - 12:00 PM
    location
    Asbury Park
    New Jersey
    USA

    One More Tri - Unified Triathlon

    clock
    dim. sept. 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
  • oct.
    14
    Unified Bowling Nebraska (East)
    clock
    sam. oct. 14, 2017
    10:00 AM - 02:00 PM
    location
    Omaha
    Nebraska
    USA

    Unified Bowling Nebraska (East)

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    sam. oct. 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
  • oct.
    14
    North Las Vegas Police & First Responders Memorial Basketball
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    sam. oct. 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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    sam. oct. 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
  • oct.
    15
    Unified Basketball Matches
    clock
    dim. oct. 15, 2017
    09:00 AM - 03:00 PM
    location
    2 venues
    USA

    Unified Basketball Matches

    clock
    dim. oct. 15, 2017
    09:00 AM - 03:00 PM

    Unified Basketball Matches will be held at Sumner Academy, 1610 N 8th St, Kansas City, Kansas and Washburn Rural High School, 5900 SW 61st St, Topeka, Kansas, on October 15. Please contact Clint Armistead at armisteadc@ksso.org for more information


    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Sumner Academy
    1610 N 8th St
    Kansas City, Kansas
    USA
    location
    Washburn Rural High School
    5900 SW 61st Street
    Topeka, Kansas
    USA
  • oct. 19 - oct. 22
    Special Olympics North America Tennis Championship
    clock
    jeu. oct. 19 - dim. oct. 22, 2017
     
    location
    Hilton Head Island
    South Carolina
    USA

    Special Olympics North America Tennis Championship

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    jeu. oct. 19 - dim. oct. 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
  • oct. 24 - oct. 28
    Special Olympics East Asia Unified Schools Unified Soccer Competition
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    mar. oct. 24 - sam. oct. 28, 2017
     
    location
    Yangpu Qu
    Shanghai Shi
    China

    Special Olympics East Asia Unified Schools Unified Soccer Competition

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    mar. oct. 24 - sam. oct. 28, 2017
     

    Join us on 24-28 October at Shanghai Sports University in Yangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi China as athletes and Unified Partners compete in Unified Soccer matches.

    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Shanghai Sports University
    399 Changhai Rd
    Yangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi
    China
  • oct.
    28
    North Central Regional Volleyball
    clock
    sam. oct. 28, 2017
    09:00 AM - 01:00 PM
    location
    Gypsum
    Kansas
    USA

    North Central Regional Volleyball

    clock
    sam. oct. 28, 2017
    09:00 AM - 01:00 PM

    The North Central Regional Volleyball will be held October 28 at Southeast of Saline High School, 5056 KS - 4, Gypsum, Kansas  67448.   The competition will be from 9:00am to 1:00pm.  For more information, contact Krystin Guggisberg at guggisbergk@ksso.org


    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Southeast of Saline High School
    5056 KS - 4
    Gypsum, Kansas
    USA
  • oct.
    28
    Unified Soccer Tournament
    clock
    sam. oct. 28, 2017
    09:00 AM - 04:00 PM
    location
    Wilsonville
    Oregon
    USA

    Unified Soccer Tournament

    clock
    sam. oct. 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
  • nov.
    05
    Unified Basketball Tournament
    clock
    dim. nov. 05, 2017
    09:00 AM - 04:00 PM
    location
    Overland Park
    Kansas
    USA

    Unified Basketball Tournament

    clock
    dim. nov. 05, 2017
    09:00 AM - 04:00 PM

    Join us on November 5th in Overland Park, Kansas at Shawnee Mission West High School as our athletes and their Unified Partners participate in Unified Basketball Tournament competition. Please contact Clint Armistead at armisteadc@ksso.or for more information.


    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Shawnee Mission West High School
    8800 W 85th St
    Overland Park, Kansas
    USA
  • nov. 10 - nov. 12
    South Carolina State Fall Games
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    ven. nov. 10 - dim. nov. 12, 2017
     
    location
    Greenville
    South Carolina
    USA

    South Carolina State Fall Games

    clock
    ven. nov. 10 - dim. nov. 12, 2017
     

    Special Olympics South Carolina welcomes and estimated 1700+ athletes, partners and coaches for the annual State Fall Games with competitions offered in bocce (under 21 years old), bowling (over 21 years old), disc golf, flag football, golf, soccer, and volleyball. Unified Sports and traditional Special Olympics competition events are offered in each of these sports.


    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Various venues
    Greenville
    Greenville, South Carolina
    USA
  • nov. 11 - nov. 12
    Poly Hockey and Unified Bowling Finals
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    sam. nov. 11 - dim. nov. 12, 2017
     
    location
    2 venues
    USA

    Poly Hockey and Unified Bowling Finals

    clock
    sam. nov. 11 - dim. nov. 12, 2017
     

    More than 1,200 athletes, coaches and chaperones from 46 counties take part in the Poly Hockey & Unified Bowling Finals each year. Poly Hockey at Eastern High School and Fieldhouse in Lansing: Poly Hockey is an adaptive sport similar to floor hockey. Athletes use plastic hockey sticks and pucks and play on a floor surface. The poly hockey competition will consist of both team play and an individual skills contest. Unified Bowling at Spare Time Entertainment Center in Lansing: Unified bowling pairs a Special Olympics Michigan athlete with an athlete who does not have an intellectual disability.


    Related Link(s):Event Details

    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Spare Time Entertainment Center
    3101 E. Grand River Ave.
    Lansing, Michigan
    USA
    Unified Bowling location. Competition is Saturday, November 11.
    location
    Eastern High School
    220 N Pennsylvania Ave
    Lansing, Michigan
    USA
    Poly Hockey location. Competition is Saturday and Sunday.