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

  • 3月 14 - 3月 23
    2018 Special Olympic Middle East - North Africa 9th Regional Games
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    周三 3月 14 - 周五 3月 23, 2018
     
    location

    2018 Special Olympic Middle East - North Africa 9th Regional Games

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    周三 3月 14 - 周五 3月 23, 2018
     

    The Regional games will take place from 14- 23 March 2018 with the participation of around 1800 athletes competing in 16 different sports , 450 coaches, 3000 volunteers and 100 honored guests. On the sidelines of the games several initiatives will be held: Healthy athletes program- Families forum- Young athletes demo- Youth Summit.

  • 5月 18 - 5月 20
    Louisiana State Summer Games
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    周五 5月 18 - 周日 5月 20, 2018
     
    location
    Hammond
    Louisiana
    USA

    Louisiana State Summer Games

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    周五 5月 18 - 周日 5月 20, 2018
     

    This is an event for all Areas. Male and female athletes from across the state will compete in Athletics (Track & Field), Bocce, Powerlifting and Unified Volleyball. Sign up today to play, coach or volunteer for this event.


    Contact information
    Venue(s)
    location
    Southeastern Louisiana University
    500 W University Ave.
    Hammond, Louisiana
    USA
  • 3月 14 - 3月 21
    2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games
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    周四 3月 14 - 周四 3月 21, 2019
     
    location
    Zayed Sports City
    Abu Dhabi
    United Arab Emirates

    2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games

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    周四 3月 14 - 周四 3月 21, 2019
     

    Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, will be the host of the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games. The Games will be held 14 to 21 March in 2019. The Games will span seven days of competition. About 7,000 athletes from more than 170 countries are invited to attend. The Games will feature competition in 24 sports.


    Venue(s)
    location
    Opening Ceremony

    Zayed Sports City Stadium
    Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi
    United Arab Emirates
    Zayed Sports City Stadium, is an iconic multi-purpose stadium located in Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It is the largest stadium in the UAE with more than 43,000 seats.
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