Become an Athlete

United through athletics.

Special Olympics provide an accepting, safe and healthy environment for all individuals with intellectual disabilities. This program believes that through sports training and competition, people with intellectual disabilities benefit physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. Families are strengthened – and the community, through participation and observation, is united in understanding these citizens in an environment of equality, respect and acceptance.


Special Olympics has a guide for families with young children with intellectual disabilities. “Realizing the Bright Future of Your Child with an Intellectual Disability” is a valuable tool that outlines treatments, therapies, supports and services that can help a child with ID reach their potential throughout their life. Download this great resource here.

Steps to get started.


Step 1.

Download, review and complete the New Athlete Information Packet. To learn more about the sports opportunities for athletes, click here


Step 2.

Athletes compete with teams in their local community. These teams are called Local Programs. You will want to connect with a local program near you. Find a Local Program based on your geographic location.


Step 3.

Alternatively, you can call the headquarters office at 913-236-9290 for assistance with finding a local program or questions about how to get started.

“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

- Athlete Oath


To Be Eligible To Participate in Special Olympics, you must be at least eight years old and identified by an agency or professional as having one of the following conditions: intellectual disabilities, cognitive delays as measured by formal assessment, or significant learning or vocational problems due to cognitive delay that require or have required specially-designed instruction to read more about the enrollment process.


You may also download athlete related forms from our website. In order to train or compete in Special Olympics, an athlete must have a current Medical Application on file.


Special Olympics athletes get along better in school, their community, and in life

Special Olympics athletes derive considerable intrinsic pleasure from solving difficult problems

Special Olympics athletes reach more and higher goals of self-esteem and success in general

Special Olympics athletes have better behavior, better habits and better general life skills


All athletes are asked to adhere to the Code of Conduct. Click here to download the Athlete Code of Conduct.


Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.