Unified Sports®

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) Basketball
Bocce Bowling
Cheerleading and Dance Cycling
Figure Skating Flag Football
Golf Snowshoeing
Soccer Softball
Speed Skating Swimming
Tennis Volleyball


Unified Collegiate Intramurals Offered:

  • Basketball (University of Iowa)
  • Flag Football (University of Iowa)
  • Rowing (University of Iowa)
  • Volleyball (University of Iowa)


Registration Links:

*We will add new registration links for events as the event gets closer!


For more information about Unified Sports and Unified Collegiate Intramurals, contact:
Krista Smith, Director of Unified Programs

Event Date Event Entries due by Event Location
Apr 22, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Upper Iowa Unified Sports Day Upper Iowa University
Apr 26 (all day) Iowa Wesleyan Unified Sports Day Iowa Wesleyan University
May 7, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Luther Unified Sports Day Luther College
Jul 16 (all day) Dubuque Unified Golf 06/23/2023 Derby Grange Golf and Rec
Jul 16 (all day) Vinton Unified Golf 06/23/2023 Vinton Skate and Activity Center
Aug 6 (all day) Spencer Unified Golf 07/23/2023 Spencer Municipal Golf
Sep 9 (all day) Cedar Rapids Unified Golf 08/16/2023 Twin Pines
Sep 16 (all day) Granger Unified Golf 08/23/2023 Jester Park
Sep 23 (all day) Sioux City Unified Golf 08/30/2023 Sun Valley Golf