Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, Special Olympics Unified Sports® creates an opportunity for people without intellectual disabilities to join in the sports experience by playing on a team with athletes with intellectual disabilities. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.
In Unified Sports, teams join people of similar age and ability, which makes practices fun and games challenging and exciting for all. Teams are made up of approximately equal numbers of Special Olympics athletes and athletes without intellectual disabilities (called partners). Practicing and competing together is one additional way of eliminating preconceived notions and false impressions.
Participation in Unified Sports® leads to new friendships, improved self-esteem and positive changes in attitude, behavior and performance. The program creates a lasting impact on all those participating and is a great addition to formal and life education.
Special Olympics Iowa offers Unified Sports competition in:
- Athletics (Track and Field)
- Cheerleading and Dance
- Figure Skating
- Flag Football
- Speed Skating
For more information about Unified Sports, contact:
Bryan Coffey, Director of Unified Programs