“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” – Athlete Oath

Through Special Olympics Minnesota (SOMN) programming, more than 8,200 people with intellectual disabilities showcase their skills to their peers, their communities and the world. In braving their attempts, they gain new experiences and become confident and empowered by their accomplishments. As a result, they create lifelong bonds with fellow athletes, volunteers and people in their communities.

SOMN welcomes people of all ages both with and without intellectual disabilities. Whether traditional athlete, Unified Partner or Young Athlete, SOMN creates an accepting and inclusive environment for everyone!

Traditional athlete

To be eligible to participate in Special Olympics, athletes must be at least 8 years old and identified by an agency or professional as having one of the following conditions:

  • intellectual disability;
  • cognitive delay as determined by standardized measures such as intelligence quotient or other accepted measures;
  • or a closely related developmental disability which means functional limitations in both general learning and adaptive skills.

Please review our athlete eligibility information (PDF) for more information.

Those who qualify as a traditional athlete must register by completing and returning an athlete application (PDF). Each sports season has placement deadlines for new athletes.

In the current pandemic, athletes that participate in any in-person practices through Return to Play or in-person invitationals also need to complete the online COVID-19 Training & Waiver.

Watch our Athlete Application Walkthrough

Application checklist (PDFs)

Cover letter
Athlete application
Athlete placement deadlines
Athlete placement sport interest survey – new athletes only

Unified Partner

Special Olympics Unified Sports combine athletes with and without disabilities (Unified Partner) on the same team. Are you ready to #PlayUnified #LiveUnified?

Young Athlete

A Young Athlete is a child ages 2-7 years of age with or without an intellectual disability who takes part in a sports skills-based Young Athletes program.

Sophie Wocken | Program Administration Coordinator
[email protected] | 763.270.7186