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Spring/Summer Sports

Competition

Special Olympics competitions use a unique divisioning system based on age, gender, and ability. By assigning athletes to divisions commensurate with their ability, every athlete is given a reasonable chance to win.

  • Athletes compete in competitions at the local level and also have the opportunity to go on to sectional and state-level competitions. World Games take place every two years alternating between Summer and Winter Games.
  • SOPA offers Unified Sports®, which combines approximately equal numbers of athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to form sports teams for training and competition. The Motor Activities Training Program (MATP) provides comprehensive motor activity and recreational training for people with severe intellectual disabilities or multiple disabilities.
  • Sports Guides, Rules and Information – provided by Special Olympics International

Culminating event – Summer Games
When: June
Where: Penn State University

Spring/Summer Sports Offered

Athletics

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Athletics was an event at the first Special Olympics International Games held in Chicago, Illinois in 1968. Athletics Training Season is usually from March to June.

View Athetics Resources

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Basketball

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Basketball was first contested in 1968 at the first Special Olympics Games in Chicago, Illinois. Basketball events combine both team and individual skills competitions. Basketball is a summer sport and training season is usually from January to June.

View Basketball Resources

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Equestrian

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At the 1987 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Indianapolis, Indiana, 38 athletes competed in the equestrian sports competition; one year later equestrian was added as an official Special Olympics sport. The training season is usually year round with a culminating event at Summer Games in June at Penn State University.

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Golf

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Golf made its debut at the 1995 Special Olympics World Summer Games in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. The training season is usually beginning in March and, in PA, culminates at Summer Games in June at Penn State University.

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Gymnastics

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Special Olympics Gymnastics was first included in 1972 as an official sport in the Third International Special Olympics World Summer Games, when 11 athletes competed in tumbling and free exercise routines. Gymnastics Training Season is usually year round with a culminating event for PA athletes at Summer Games in June at Penn State University.

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MATP

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The Special Olympics Motor Activity Training Program is designed for athletes who are unable to participate in official Special Olympics sport competitions because of their skill and/or functional abilities. The Motor Activity Training Program is designed to prepare athletes — including those with severe or profound intellectual disability and significant physical disabilities — for sport-specific activities appropriate for their ability levels.

View MATP Resources

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Roller Skating

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Roller Skating was inaugurated at the 1987 Special Olympics World Summer Games held in Indiana, USA. The training season is usually year round with a culminating event at Fall Festival in November.

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Softball

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Special Olympics softball was introduced in 1983. Softball events combine both team and individual skills competitions. Softball is a summer sport and the training season is usually from March to June.

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Swimming

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Swimming was an event at the first Special Olympics International Games held in Chicago, Illinois in 1968. Swimming Training Season is usually year round with a culminating event at Summer Games in June at Penn State University.

View Swimming Resources

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Tennis

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Tennis became an official Special Olympics sport in 1987. The training season is usually from October to June. For a Tennis Service Representative in your area, contact USTA Middle States – USTA Middle States.

View Tennis Resources

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