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Winter Sports

Esports

Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) offers year-round sports training. Training is the essential element of Special Olympics. Our athletes are well-prepared physically and psychologically before they enter competitions by completing the mandatory eight weeks of training prior to competing.

  • Cross-training has become increasingly popular among our athletes and coaches. Many of our athletes compete in a different sport every season -- an athlete who plays soccer in the fall often competes in speed skating in the winter and plays basketball in the summer.
  • All training is offered free of charge to our athletes and their families.

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

All sports begin in January unless otherwise noted.

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

All sports begin in November unless otherwise noted.

Culminating event – Winter Games
When: March
Where: York, PA

Winter Sports Offered

Alpine Skiing

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Alpine skiing was first introduced as an Official Special Olympics Sport in 1977 at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The training season is usually from December to February.

Alpine Skiing Resources

Find an Alpine Skiing Training Site

Bowling

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Bowling was introduced as a Special Olympics sport in 1975. Bowling is mainly fall and winter sport and training is usually from September to March.

Bowling Resources

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Figure Skating

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Special Olympics Figure Skating was first included in the 1977 Special Olympics World Winter Games. The training season is usually from October to February.

Figure Skating Resources

Find a Figure Skating Training Site

Floor Hockey

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Floor hockey was first introduced as a Special Olympics sport at the 1970 Special Olympics World Winter Games. Floor Hockey events combine both team and individual skills competitions. It is the only team sport among the Special Olympics Winter Sports. Floor Hockey training season is usually from November to March.

Floor Hockey Resources

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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.

MATP Resources

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Snowboarding

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Snowboarding is a sport that involves descending a slope that is covered with snow on a snowboard that is attached to a rider’s feet using a special boot set onto mounted binding. Snowboarding was first introduced to the Olympic Games in 1998 at Nagano, Japan and became an official Special Olympics Sport in 2001. The training season is usually from December to February.

Snowboarding Resources

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Snowshoeing

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Special Olympics snowshoeing was inaugurated at the 1997 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Toronto, Canada. The training season is usually from December to February.

Snowshoeing Resources

Find a Snowshoeing Training Site