Through the power of sports, people with intellectual disabilities discover new strengths and abilities, skills and success. Our athletes find joy, confidence and fulfillment — on the playing field and in life. They also inspire people in their communities and elsewhere to open their hearts to a wider world of human talents and potential. There are about 200 million people with intellectual disabilities around the world. Our goal is to reach out to every one of them – and their families as well.
Opportunities for Athletes:
Who is eligible?
To be eligible to participate in Special Olympics, athletes must:
- Be at least 8 years old (Children ages 2-1/2 to 7 are eligible to participate in the Young Athletes Program).
- Have a current Medical and Consent Form on file.
- Identified by an agency or professional as having one of the following conditions: intellectual disability; a cognitive delay as determined by standardized measures such as intelligence quotient or other generally accepted measures; or a closely related development disability, i.e., functional limitations in both general learning and adaptive skills.
What is the definition of intellectual disability?
A person is considered to have an intellectual disability for purposes of determining his or her eligibility to participate in Special Olympics if that person satisfies any one of the following requirements:
The person has been identified by an agency or professional as having an intellectual disability as determined by their localities; or
the person has a cognitive delay, as determined by standardized measures such as intelligent quotient or “IQ” testing or other measures which are generally accepted within the professional community in that Accredited Program’s nation as being a reliable measurement of the existence of a cognitive delay; or the person has a closely related developmental disability. A “closely related developmental disability” means having functional limitations in both general learning (such as IQ) and in adaptive skills (such as in recreation, work, independent living, self-direction, or self-care). However, persons whose functional limitations are based solely on a physical, behavioral, or emotional disability, or a specific learning or sensory disability, are not eligible to participate as Special Olympics athletes, but may be eligible to volunteer for Special Olympics.
How to Become an Athlete:
Join Special Olympics Washington and be the best you can be! Follow the listed steps below to become a Special Olympics Washington Athlete. Please feel free to contact Special Olympics Washington if you have any additional questions.
Step 1: Learn more by contacting our Athlete Hotline by emailing Marisue Harves or calling her at (206) 681-9378
Step 2: Submit an Athlete Inquiry Form
Step 3: Complete, sign and return the Application for Participation / Application for Participation_Spanish
Step 4: Complete the Athlete Medical & Release forms (below)
Step 5: Begin the adventure of a lifetime!