- Support Programs
- Unified Sports®
Special Olympics International has approved 30 Olympic sports for participation by individuals with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Arizona offers over 24 of the 30 as Chapter-level competitions. Competitions begin at the Area level and athletes advance to the State competition in specific sport(s). Eligible participants may begin competing in Special Olympics at age 8. Special Olympics is FREE of charge to all participants!
In order for an athlete to be eligible to compete at a State competition, the athlete must compete at their Area or State Sectional competition. State competitions are state-wide competitions conducted at the culmination of each sports season and serve as qualifiers to meet the criteria for athletes to advance to the National or World level of competition. State competitions are the highest level of competition offered for athletes within the state. State competition is conducted in compliance with Special Olympics rules.
Special Olympics Arizona conducts six major events annually; see below for a brief description of each event. For more information on upcoming events, filter the SOAZ Calendar by Event Type / State Competitions.
Over 1000 athletes, unified partners and coaches attend the annual State Fall Games, which is held on Friday and Saturday. Athletes compete in Aquatics, Bocce and Softball. In 2009 the event was held in Surprise. The event includes an Olympic-style Opening Ceremony which usually includes fireworks, a parade of athletes, torch run and the highly anticipated DJ/Dance.
The Golf program features a two day event on Saturday and Sunday. Levels of play include skills, 9 hole and 18 hole individual play and 9 hole alternate shot partner play. Partners include, but are not limited to parents, siblings, relatives and coaches. The Soccer State Sectional is offered in conjunction with the Maricopa Area event. Participants can select a traditional or unified 5v5 team.
Over 300 athletes compete in Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Figure Skating, Floor Hockey, Speed Skating, Snowboarding and Snowshoeing. This annual event is held in Flagstaff from Thursday to Sunday. Ability levels in each sport range from beginner to advanced.
Flag Football is the newest sport offered by Special Olympics Arizona and are held just outside the Arizona Cardinals University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, AZ. Flag football is a non-contact 5v5 traditional and unified sport.
Over 64 teams compete in the Friday and Saturday event. The state tournament for both Unified and Traditional Basketball is held in Mesa. Teams are placed into divisions based on age, gender and ability level. Cheerleading is offered on Friday.
Special Olympics Arizona Summer Games is the largest event on the calendar with over 1,100 athletes competing in Athletics (Track & Field), Tennis, Powerlifting, Gymnastics (Artistic and Rhythmic), Volleyball, Kayaking and Equestrian. The event includes an Olympic-style Opening Ceremonies which includes a parade of athletes, torch run and DJ/Dance.
For additional information contact:
Director of Operations
602.230.1119 - direct line