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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.


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.


Unfied Sports® Stories and News


November 13, 2014 | Africa: South Africa

Have you ever shared a domitory with an athlete?

By Wanga Manyala

Well I have, more that once. First it was with Ephraim Mohlakane and now it was with Sipho Zwane, a Ten Pin Bowler from Logwood Village. For both times it has always been a Unified Sports Event. With Ephraim it was with the Africa Unity Cup and with Mr Zwane it was the Ten Pin Bowling Interprovincial.View Story Well I have, more that once. First it was with Ephraim Mohlakane and now it was with Sipho Zwane, a Ten Pin Bowler from Logwood Village. For both times it has always been a Unified Sports Event. With Ephraim it was with the Africa Unity Cup and with Mr Zwane it was the Ten Pin Bowling Interprovincial. Above all the experience has always been wonderfull; with Ephraim we could not sleep on the second day because there was a lizard on the wall and with Mr. Zwane it was a spider. It's not like I'm the scared one here. I am always the rescue guy. Generally i just want to share the fun, joy and laughter i always share with athletes than it ever happens with coches. You should try it too; but don't expect a lizard nor a spider. The power of being Unified.

About Wanga Manyala:I am a sports coordinator for Special Olympics South Africa, passionate about our Special Olympics Athletes and dearly enjoy and lust Youth Initiatives and programmes.
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November 13, 2014 | North America: Louisiana

LSU vs. BAMA Unified Flag Football Game Featured on SEC Network

By Casey Minton

The Unified flag football game that took place at Louisiana State University's UREC this past Saturday was featured on ESPN’s SEC Nation.View Story The Unified flag football game that took place at Louisiana State University's UREC this past Saturday was featured on ESPN’s SEC Nation! The clip featured both LSU and Alabama athletes and was broadcasted live. Special Olympics College LSU took the victory with a 34-14 score! Both teams played exceptionally well and it was a great game.

About Casey Minton:Director of Internal Communications and Marketing
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November 05, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Turkey

Unified Sports Recreation kicks off in Turkey

By Serkan Ovatman

Unified session in practice with 30 kids from the city of Istanbul

Special Olympics Turkey, in cooperation with the Turkish Football Federation and six football clubs, has launched a Unified Sports Recreation project for 600 children with and without an intellectual disability aged 8-12.View Story Special Olympics Turkey, in cooperation with the Turkish Football Federation and six football clubs, has launched a Unified Sports Recreation project for 600 children with and without an intellectual disability aged 8-12. The project, supported by the King Baudouin Foundation, aims at creating universal access to sport and delivering quality physical activity for children thus ensuring that they have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of sport and an active lifestyle. On 25-26 October 2014 a kick-off seminar for 50 coaches from six cities involved in the 18-month project was organized in Istanbul. All participants enjoyed the seminar and are ready to build an inclusive and joyful atmosphere on their football fields.

About Serkan Ovatman:I am assistant of sport director in Special Olympics Turkey and project coordinator.
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Unified Sports® Events


Date

Event

Location

November 23, 2014

Elena Delle Donne Girls Basketball Clinics - Pennsylvania

Elena Delle Donne, professional basketball player with the WNBA Chicago Sky and 2013 WNBA Rookie of the Year will host two Girls Basketball Clinics for 2 camps of girls ages 7 – 12 and 13 – 18 years of age that will encourage the importance of activating youth to promote inclusion in schools via Unified Sports® through basketball. Unified Sports pairs players with intellectual disabilities with players without intellectual disabilities to play together. The Unified Basketball Clinic will involve students from Episcopal Academy and local Special Olympics athletes.
For more information
View More

Episcopal Academy
Newton Square, Pennsylvania
UNITED STATES

November 29, 2014

Alabama vs Auburn Unified Flag Football Game

Join us as Special Olympics Alabama Unified Flag Football teams participate in the Alabama vs Auburn Unified Flag Football Game at Alabama University in Tuscaloosa. Unified Sports brings people of all abilities together and are formed by combining players without disabilities with Special Olympics players of similar age and ability. Come and see what all of the excitement is all about. For more details, please refer to the contact information below.
For more information
Special Olympics Alabama
Email:soaloffice@aol.com
Phone:334-242-3383
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Alabama University
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
UNITED STATES

November 29, 2014

Clemson vs South Carolina Unified Flag Football Game

Join us as Special Olympics South Carolina Unified Flag Football teams participate in the Clemson vs South Carolina Unified Flag Football Game at Clemson University in Clemson. Unified Sports brings people of all abilities together and are formed by combining players without disabilities with Special Olympics players of similar age and ability. Come and see what all of the excitement is all about. For more details, please refer to link and contact information below.
For more information
South Carolina
Phone:803-772-1555
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Clemson University
Clemson , South Carolina
UNITED STATES

November 29, 2014

FSU vs Florida Unified Flag Football Game

Join us as Special Olympics Florida Unified Flag Football teams participate in the FSU vs Florida Unified Flag Football Game at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Unified Sports brings people of all abilities together and are formed by combining players without disabilities with Special Olympics players of similar age and ability. Come and see what all of the excitement is all about. For more details, please refer to link and contact information below.
For more information
Special Olympics Florida
Phone:352-243-9536
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Florida State University
Tallahassee, Florida
UNITED STATES

Dec 3 - 10 2014

2014 Special Olympics MENA Regional Games

Join us for the 8th Special Olympics Middle East-North Africa Regional games on 3-10 December in Cairo, Egypt. Thousands of athletes representing countries from around the region will participate in 8 days of peace, celebration and competition in 13 sports. The games will also host a Unified Sports, Special Olympics Youth Summit, Athlete Leadership Congress, Families Forum, Young Athletes Demonstration and Healthy Athletes Screenings.
For more information
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Cairo
Egypt

December 06, 2014

Capital Area Independent Bowling Tournament

Join us on December 6th at All-Star Lanes in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for a day of Unified bowling competition. Male and female athletes and Unified partners from Capital/Florida Parishes area will compete in this event. To play, coach or volunteer for this event, please refer to the contact information below.
For more information
More Details
Charles Guillory
Email:chzgil@gmail.com
Phone:225-963-9028
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All-Star Lanes
9829 Airline Hwy

Baton Rouge, Louisiana
UNITED STATES

December 07, 2014

10 Pin Bowling Championships

Join us on 7 December 2014 at Bowl America in Gaithersburg, Maryland as athletes and Unified partners from around the state compete in day of bowling competition. Events will include: Traditional singles; Ramp assisted singles; Traditional Doubles; Unified Doubles. For schedule details, please refer to the link below.
For more information
Schedule Details
Mike Czarnowsky
Email:mczarnowsky@somd.org
Phone:410-242-1515
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Bowl America
1101 Clopper Road

Gaithersburg, Maryland
UNITED STATES

December 08, 2014

Capital Area EBR Schools Bowling Tournament

Join us on December 8th at All-Star Lanes in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for a day of Unified bowling competition. Male and female athletes and unified partners from the Capital area will compete in this event. To play, coach or volunteer for this event, please refer to the contact information below.
For more information
More Details
Charles Guillory
Email:chzgil@gmail.com
Phone:225-963-9028
View More

All-Star Lanes
9829 Airline Hwy

Baton Rouge, Louisiana
UNITED STATES

Dec 12 - 13 2014

2014 Chapter Flag Football Competition

Special Olympics Texas has a serious case of football fever! Flag football is the newest sport out of 22 sports offered, and our state competition is growing each year. Traditional and Unified teams will face off in Waco, and you’ll be amazed at the level of competition, sportsmanship and spirit of our athletes. Athletes will also have the opportunity to compete in individual skill events: Run & Catch, Throwing for Accuracy, Throwing for Distance, Agility and Speed (hands-off), and Flag Pulling. Come enjoy the fun of Texas’ favorite sport!
For more information
More Details
Tela Mange
Email:tmange@sotx.org
Phone:512-491-2928
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Baylor University
Waco, Texas
UNITED STATES

December 12, 2014

Capital Area EBR Schools Bowling Tournament

Join us on December 12th at All-Star Lanes in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for a day of Unified bowling competition. Male and female athletes and unified partners from the Capital area will compete in this event. To play, coach or volunteer for this event, please refer to the contact information below.
For more information
More Details
Charles Guillory
Email:chzgil@gmail.com
Phone: 225-963-9028
View More

All-Star Lanes
9829 Airline Hwy

Baton Rouge, Louisiana
UNITED STATES

December 13, 2014

State Unified Flag Football Invitational

Join on us on December 13th at National Training Center in Clermont, Florida as our athletes and Unified Partners take the field to compete in an exciting day of flag football. Opening ceremonies will be held from 8:45 am - 9:15 am with the first round competition being held from 9:30 am - 12:00 pm and the second round of competition being held from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm followed by awards. For more information please use the contact information below.
For more information
More Details
Akin Joseph
Phone:352-243-9536 ext. 52
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National Training Center
1935 Don Wickham Drive

Clermont, Florida
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
View More

Ski Whitetail
13805 Blairs Valley Road

Mercersburg, Maryland
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
View More

Hood College
401 Rosemont Ave

Frederick, Maryland
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

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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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Special Olympics Transforms Lives Through the Power of Sports

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