Special Olympics Unified Sports,® part of our Unified Champion Schools program, joins people with and without intellectual disabilities together to compete as teammates. It was inspired by a simple principle—Training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and inclusion.

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A UNIFIED SPORT ATHLETE is an individual with intellectual disabilities receiving Special Education services, verified by the site administrator, but also a student who previously, based on their special needs, has not had competitive opportunities to participate in a selected sport. A Unified Sports Athlete works with a Unified Partner to learn the skills of the selected sport. The emphasis is the providing of opportunities, not ultimately how well the unified participants fair in league or section competition.

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A UNIFIED PEER PARTNER is a general education student attending the same school as a Unified Sport Athlete, not receiving Special Education services. Peer partners are dedicated to the teaching the skills of the sport as well as committed to the social interaction with the special needs student. It is expected that Unified Athletes and Peer Partners practice and compete together consistently throughout the entire regular and post-season. However, in a virtual environment, a Unified Partner can be anyone from your siblings to your parent or guardian.

Types of Unified Sports

Unified Sports Resources

Sport Specific Skills & Drills Guidebook
Special Olympics Northern California has created a short guide to assist schools, educators, coaches and students alike to train for their favorite Special Olympics sports—soccer,basketball, and track & field. Offers various resources including fitness and skills videos from professional athletes to help you build and develop a training and competition program that works for your district, school, or classroom. Use our example training program or create your own.

Unified Fitness
Our webpage of unified fitness resources was created due to the many restrictions with team sports and distancing guidelines, creative with sport and fitness engagements. These resources can be used to engage students to stay active, even with physical distancing.


Learn more about Unified Champion Schools




Contact Us

If you are interested in our Unified Sports component of the Unified Champion Schools program at your school, please contact Schools@sonc.org.