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Opportunities for Athletes

Special Olympics provides sports opportunities for all levels of ability:

Motor Activities Training Program (MATP)

Special Olympics Motor Activities Training Program (MATP) is designed for persons with severe limitations who do not yet possess the physical and/or behavioral skills necessary to participate in official Special Olympics sports. The program provides a comprehensive motor activity and recreation training curriculum for these participants. MATP emphasizes training and participation rather than competition. In addition, the program provides the means for people with severe limitations to participate in appropriate recreation activities geared to their ability levels.

Specific events are identified in most sports for athletes with low ability levels; examples of MATP activities include:

  • Bean bag lift
  • Ball lift (small)
  • Log roll
  • Ball kick
  • Ball lift (large)
  • Wide beam and bench
  • Ball push

Individual Skills

The Individual Skills competition is offered in many sports such as Basketball, Tennis, Golf, Floorball, Soccer, Softball, etc. The Individual Skills portion is designed for individuals with lower functioning abilities or lower skills that may not have the concept of “team sports” but can participate in various skill assessments of the sport. The individual skills competition can be used as both an assessment tool for evaluating lower-skilled players and a competition format for athletes not ready for traditional match-play competition.

Traditional Sports

Traditional Sports are the general level of sports that is offered by Special Olympics. Within these Olympic-type sports, ability levels will still vary.

Special Olympics Arizona offers the following sports:

  • Alpine Skiing
  • Equestrian Soccer
  • Softball
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowshoeing
  • Speed Skating
  • Tennis
  • Cross Country Skiing Powerlifting
  • Athletics
  • Basketball
  • Bocce
  • Bowling
  • Cheerleading
  • Volleyball
  • Aquatics
  • Figure Skating
  • Flag Football
  • Floorball
  • Golf
  • Kayaking

Unified Sports®

Special Olympics Unified Sports® is an initiative that combines approximately equal numbers of Special Olympics athletes and athletes without intellectual disabilities (called Partners) on sports teams for training and competition. Age and ability matching of athletes and Partners is defined on a sport-by-sport basis.

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