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