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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.Unified Sports enables Special Olympics athletes to:

  • Learn new sports
  • Develop higher-level sports skills
  • Have new competition experiences
  • Experience meaningful inclusion (each athlete is ensured of playing a valued role on the team)
  • Socialize with peers and form friendships (the initiative provides a forum for positive social interaction between teammates and often leads to long-lasting friendships), and
  • Participate in their communities and have choices outside of Special Olympics. Unified Sports programs often are initiated by community partners, including parks and recreation departments, schools, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and community sports organizations. These partnerships help further include athletes in their community.

Special Olympics Arizona offers Unified Sports competition in Athletics, Aquatics, Bocce, Bowling, Basketball, Cheerleading, Golf, Flag Football, Floorball, Kayaking, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, and Volleyball.


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