In June 2026, the Special Olympics USA Games will bring 4,000 athletes, 1,500 coaches, 10,000 volunteers and 75,000 fans from all 50 states right here to Minnesota! Featuring 19 sports, the Games will shine a light on the abilities and strengths of people with intellectual disabilities.

VOLUNTEERS

It will take an estimated 10,000 volunteers to make the 2026 USA Games a success! While you eagerly wait for 2026, consider volunteering for a local competition or event. Check out the hundreds of volunteer opportunities Special Olympics Minnesota has every year.

Visit the official 2026 USA Games website to learn about volunteering at the 2026 USA Games.

Athletes, Unified partners & coaches

Special Olympics Minnesota will send a delegation of athletes, Unified partners and coaches to the USA Games to compete as Team Minnesota!

To become eligible to apply, you must compete at a Special Olympics Minnesota state competition in 2024.

(Coach applications will be available August 1, 2024.)

If you are interested in being a part of Team Minnesota, here are the steps to apply:

STEP 1

Compete in a state competition in 2024. For most sports, you must win a gold medal to qualify. However, some silver and bronze medals may qualify.

STEP 2

When the 2026 USA Games eligibility list is published, check to see if your name is listed. Sign up to receive email updates when the eligibility list and applications are published.

ELIGIBILITY LIST #1
Posted – September 1, 2024
Due – October 1, 2024
Sports – Basketball, gymnastics, swimming, track & field

ELIGIBILITY LIST #2
Posted – November 1, 2024
Due – December 1, 2024
Sports – Bocce, flag football, golf, soccer, softball, tennis

ELIGIBILITY LIST #3
Posted – March 10, 2025
Due – April 1, 2025
Sports – College basketball, bowling, cornhole, powerlifting, all Unified Champion Schools teams

STEP 3

If you are on the eligibility list, complete the application process. The application will be posted along with the eligibility list. You must submit an application to be considered.

STEP 4

After you apply, Special Olympics Minnesota will be in touch with next steps!

Questions? Contact [email protected]

2024 is the year to qualify for the 2026 USA Games! Qualifying competitions are:

State Summer Games
Swimming & gymnastics: June 15-16, 2024
Basketball & track & field: June 21-23, 2024

State Tennis: August 3, 2024

State Equestrian: August 9, 2024

Summer Sports Classic
Bocce & softball: August 16-18, 2024

State Golf: August 25, 2024

State Bowling: November 15-17 and November 22-24, 2024

 2025 State Powerlifting: Date TBD

We may be eligible to send participants in soccer and cornhole. More information to come.

This information was updated on 1/24/2024. This information is subject to change.

No, athletes can only participate in one sport.

Yes, you can qualify and apply for multiple sports if you are eligible. However, you can only participate in one sport at the USA Games.

For most sports, athletes must win a gold medal in their division at a state competition in 2024* to be eligible for USA Games. For some sports, places other than gold may be eligible depending on the number of athletes participating in the sport.

* The qualifying competition for powerlifting will be in 2025.

No. If your name is on the eligibility list, you are eligible to submit an application. You must submit an application to be considered.

We try our best to give priority to athletes who have not already had the opportunity to attend a national or international competition. However, there are instances where athletes who have been before are selected again.

Team Minnesota has a required 4:1 athlete-to-coach ratio. Most athletes must be able to function within this ratio; however, depending on the quota we receive, we may have the flexibility to select some athletes that require more assistance.

Similar to athletes, coaches go through an application and selection process. To qualify, coaches must be active, Level 2-certified coaches with Special Olympics Minnesota. Coach applications will be available August 1, 2024.

Every team sport has a roster size maximum (to be determined). This roster maximum may be smaller than the number of players you currently have on your team.

If your team is selected for USA Games, we will work with delegation leadership to determine which team members will compete and which ones will not.

Unified teams
If all members of the team are 18 years of age or older as of June 16, 2026, the age gap between the youngest and oldest players cannot exceed 20 years.
If anyone on the team is 16 or 17 years old as of June 16, 2026, the age gap between the youngest and oldest players cannot exceed 5 years.

Traditional teams
No age gap requirements are enforced.

No. All members of Team MN are required to stay with their teammates on the University of Minnesota Campus for the entire USA Games.