Sports & Competitions

Confidence, skill, and determination are common benefits of involvement with sports.

Many assume that Special Olympics offers sports competitions every other year like traditional Olympics. What many find surprising is Special Olympics Arizona offers over 675 area competitions a year with 21, 261 athletes currently competing for gold. Currently, Special Olympics Arizona offers 21 Olympic-type individual and team sports which provide meaningful training and competition opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities, including age-appropriate activities and activities for lower ability athletes. Athletes can compete at a variety of levels that accommodate a diverse range. In addition, athletes can choose to compete within the Special Olympics Unified SportsĀ® program, which brings together athletes with and without disabilities of similar age and athletic ability to train and compete on the same sports teams. The lessons learned in Special Olympics also impact life skills. Sports training enhances focus and gives participants a structure for learning important lessons about perseverance, endurance and setting goals.

Special Olympics Arizona conducts five state events annually.


Over 1,000 athletes compete in one day or two-day tournaments for both Unified and Traditional basketball. Teams are placed into divisions based on age, gender and ability level. Cheerleading is offered on Saturday of the competition.


Special Olympics Arizona Summer Games is the largest event on the calendar with over 1,300 athletes competing in Athletics (Track & Field), Powerlifting, and Volleyball. This three-day event includes an Olympic-style opening ceremony, torch run, parade of athletes and victory dance.

FALL GAMES (October)

Over 1000 athletes, unified partners, and coaches will attend the newly branded Fall Classic which will include Bocce, Soccer, and Softball. Designed to maximize playing time and offer additional competition for the growing sport of Soccer, athletes can attend one day of this two-day competition.

STATE GOLF (Every Other November)

Sports Offered

Special Olympics Arizona offers the following 21 sports:






State Games

In order for an athlete to be eligible to compete at a State competition, the athlete must compete at their Area or State Sectional competition. State competitions are state-wide competitions conducted at the culmination of each sports season and serve as qualifiers to meet the criteria for athletes to advance to the National or World level of competition. State competitions are the highest level of competition offered for athletes within the state. State competition is conducted in compliance with Special Olympics rules.

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