Special Olympics helps people of all ages with intellectual disabilities improve their fitness, learn sports skills, and experience the joy of competition and winning through regular training and year-round events.

With 23 sports to choose from, athletes can train for many different skills and sports. Enrolling in Special Olympics means joining a family of over one million athletes in the United States and more than 170 other countries. Athletes will enjoy the best physical training and competition available to such special individuals.

Special Olympics provide opportunities to meet new people, make friends, travel, and enjoy various social events with other athletes and volunteers. It enables families to train together, have common goals, and become an integral part of the sports world in Special Olympics. Through Special Olympics Michigan, athletes gain self-esteem, discipline, and courage, which carry over to all other aspects of their lives, including school, home, and the workplace.


To be eligible to participate in Special Olympics, athletes must have an intellectual disability, a cognitive delay, or a developmental disability; that is, functional limitations in both general learning and adaptive skills. Participation in Special Olympics can begin at age 8, and there is no maximum age limit; children ages 2-7 can take part in the Young Athletes Program. People without intellectual disabilities can take part in Unified Sports (teams that include people with and without intellectual disabilities).