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.


ESPN and Special Olympics Unified Sports Program

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.  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.

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.


Unfied Sports® Stories and News


April 09, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Bulgaria

The 'Let's Play Together' initiative kicks off in Bulgaria

By Dr. Hristo Hristozov

The press conference at the Press Club Bulgaria in Sofia kicked off the 'Let's Play Together' initiative.

The “Let’s Play Together” initiative will bring 800 youngsters with and without intellectual disabilities together for sports activities in Bulgaria from 14-30 April. The initiative was announced 7 April in Sofia.View Story The “Let’s Play Together” initiative will bring 800 youngsters with and without intellectual disabilities together for sports activities in Bulgaria from 14-30 April. The initiative was announced 7 April in Sofia jointly with Special Olympics Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Football Union in recognition of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. The Bulgarian Union for Physical Culture and Sport and the ProSport Foundation are also partners of the initiative. Special Olympics athletes come from special schools, resource centers and institutions. Attending the press conference were: Dr. Hristo Hristozov, Special Olympics Bulgaria national director, managing director of the ProSport Foundation; Mr. Emil Ivanov, program sports administrator; Mr. Rumen Valkov, resident, Amateur Football League, Bulgarian Football Union; and Mr. Borislav Alexandrov, manager of the Union's Grassroots Project.

About Dr. Hristo Hristozov:Dr. Hristo Hristozov is National Director, Special Olympics Bulgaria, and Managing Director of the ProSport Foundation.
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April 04, 2014 | Africa: South Africa

Special Olympics South Africa Athlete and Unified partner win Golf Tournament

By Mmane Boikanyo

Special Olympics South Africa golfer Konrad Zastrau and Coach/Unified partner Nico Van Eeden

Special Olympics South Africa golfer Konrad Zastrau and Coach Nico Van Eeden who was playing the role of a Unified partner, won the annual Member Guest Tournament at Oubaai Golf Club in George this past weekend.View Story Special Olympics South Africa golfer Konrad Zastrau and Coach Nico Van Eeden who was playing the role of a Unified partner, won the annual Member Guest Tournament at Oubaai Golf Club in George this past weekend. Konrad and Nico had to compete with approximately 72 players and they did not disappoint. The two day tournament saw Konrad and his coach of six years winning the tournament by 6 shots. Before the last day of the competition Conrad pulled his coach to the side and said: “I am going to try my best. Don’t forget to always be happy and brave in the attempt.” The Special Olympics athlete won a silver medal for golf in the level 5 Stroke Play-Division A at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games which were hosted in Athens. While his Unified partner and coach Nico was Head Coach of the South African golf team in Athens. The victory is a clear indication of the power of Unified Sports. With proper training and more opportunities to compete athletes can become winners! Special Olympics Unified Sports® is an inclusive sports program that combines an approximately equal number of Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) on teams for training and competition. Konrad didn’t just win on the field he also won the hearts of many. His opponents were really amazed by his sportsmanship and his standard of play. The Special Olympics golfer is very ecstatic about his victory, he said: “I’m very happy about winning and I’ll continue to be brave in my attempts on the field.”

About Mmane Boikanyo:Marketing and Communications Officer
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March 31, 2014 | Africa: Malawi

Unified Football Match official opener for Disability Forum.

By Mr Peter Mazunda

The Special Olympics Malawi Unified® Football Invitational was aimed at building awareness around the issue of intellectual disability in Malawi and to challenge preconceived notions of the abilities of people with an intellectual disability.View Story The Special Olympics Malawi Unified® Football Invitational took place on the 09th of February at the CIVO Stadium in Lilongwe. This match was aimed at building awareness around the issue of intellectual disability in Malawi and to challenge preconceived notions of the abilities of people with an Intellectual Disability. The attendance was approximately 5 000 people; Special Olympics delegates, government officials and the general public at large. The Invitational was attended by high level delegations which included the Vice President of the Republic of Malawi, The First Gentleman of the Republic of Malawi, The Minister of Sports, The Minister of Disability, the Chairman of Special Olympics International, Dr Timothy P. Shriver and other highly recognized delegates. The match saw South African Soccer greats Mark Fish, Phil Masinga and Desiree Ellis alongside on their Malawian counterparts Ernest Mtawali, MacDonald Yobe, James Sangala, Hellings Mwakasungula, Fischer Kondowe, Lawrence Waya and Peter Mponda. The soccer greats teamed up with local Special Olympics athletes, Government officials and SO stakeholders in a closely contested match that provided an amazing display of the power of unity. When it came to ability on the field spectators were unable to differentiate between the Special Olympics athletes and others. The cheering spectators where further entertained by outstanding performances by renowned Malawian musicians, Lulu, Pixie, Sally Nyundo and the Black Missionaries.

About Mr Peter Mazunda :Special Olympics Malawi National Director
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Unified Sports® Events


Date

Event

Location

April 27, 2014

East Region Soccer Jamboree

Join Special Olympics Washington-East Region as over 150 athletes with and without disabilities will come together at Davis High School in Yakima, Washington to compete in what is sure to be a thrilling day of soccer!
For more information
More Details
Jill Ives
Email:jives@sowa.org
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Davis High School
Yakima, Washington
UNITED STATES

May 1 - 3 2014

Summer Games - Arizona

Join Special Olympics Arizona on 1-3 May at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona as athletes from around the state compete in 3 days of athletic competition. Athletes will be competing in the following sports: athletics, powerlifting, kayaking, Unified kayaking doubles, softball, tennis and Unified tennis. Hope to see you there!
For more information
More Details
Jamie Heckerman
Email:jamie@SpecialOlympicsArizona.org
Phone:602-230-9135
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Grand Canyon University
3300 W. Camelback Rd.

Phoenix, Arizona
UNITED STATES

May 02, 2014

2014 Unified Outdoor Bocce State High School Invitational

Unified Sports® provides a means which brings together students with and without disabilities in a fulfilling inclusion experience. Unified Sports® teams are composed of a proportional number of students with intellectual disabilities, other types of disabilities, and students without disabilities who train and compete together on the same team. This event is scheduled for Friday, May 2, 2014. Schedule: 10:00 AM Schools Arrive; 10:45 AM Opening Ceremony; 11:00 AM Competition; 2:00 PM Awards; 6:00 PM Departure To register to volunteer, please visit: http://www.somd.org/volunteer/volunteer-opportunities/
For more information
More Details
Melissa Kelly
Email:mkelly@somd.org
Phone:410-242-1515 ext 142
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Washington College
300 Washington Ave

Chestertwon, Maryland
UNITED STATES

May 14 - 16 2014

45th Annual Summer Games - Oklahoma

Join Special Olympics Oklahoma on 14-16 May at Oklahoma State University (Gallagher Iba Area) in Stillwater, Arizona as athletes from around the state compete in 2 days of athletic competition. Athletes will compete in nine sports: Athletics (Track and Field), Bocce, Bowling, Golf, Horseshoes, Powerlifting, Unified 3-on-3 Basketball, and Unified Softball. Other events include Motor Activities and Stars of the Future. Hope to see you there!
For more information
More Details
Teri Hockett
Phone:teri@sook.org
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Oklahoma State University
Gallagher Iba Arena

Stillwater, Oklahoma
UNITED STATES

May 16, 2014

State Summer Games - Tennesse

The 2014 State Summer Games will be held May 16th and 17th in Nashville, TN. Over 2500 athletes, coaches, volunteers, and family members will attend the two day event. Athletes will compete in seven sports (Aquatics, Athletics, Bocce, Unified Bocce, Powerlifting, Tennis, and Unified Volleyball).
For more information
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Meg Takahashi
Phone:615-329-1375
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Lipscomb University and Centennial Sportsplex
Nashville, Tennesse
UNITED STATES

Jun 13 - 15 2014

Open Water Swimming Coaches Training

Special Olympics Netherlands is organizing a Coaches Train the Trainer workshop on Open Water Swimming and hosting a Unified Open Water Swimming competition for 50 athletes on June 13-15 in Heerenveen/Sneek, Holland.
For more information
More Details
Natascha Bruers
Email:n.bruers@specialolympics.nl
Phone:+31 30 659 7349
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Heerenveen/Sneek
The Netherlands, Holland
NETHERLANDS

Oct 10 - 12 2014

Special Olympics Bangladesh National Games

Special Olympics Bangladesh’s National Games will welcome an estimated 800 athletes and 100 Unified Sports® partners across Bangladesh. Ten sports will be played: athletics, badminton, basketball, bocce, cricket, football, handball, swimming, table tennis and volleyball. The three day event will be held across different venues: Bangabandhu National Stadium, Army Stadium, National Indoor Stadium & Swimming pool and the Bangladesh Sports Education Institute (BKSP).
For more information
Faruqul Islam
Email:sobangla@gmail.com
Phone:+880 1819 259844
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Bangabandhu National Stadium & other venuesDhaka
BANGLADESH

Oct 29 - Nov 10 2014

Special Olympics Unified Football Cup

Modeled after the FIFA World Cup, the biggest single-event sporting competition in the world, the Special Olympics Unified Football Cup will bring together qualifying Unified Sports football (soccer) teams from 25 countries representing each of the Special Olympics seven regions to compete and showcase as never before, the bravery, ability and joy of Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners worldwide. Countries that rose to the top during qualifying events and are participating in the Unified Football Cup include: Ivory Coast, South Africa, Tanzania, Libya, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Korea, France, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica and the United States of America.
For more information
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MALAYSIA

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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 »


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


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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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