Our Vision: We are a catalyst for inclusion! Special Olympics Washington is the leader in sports, inclusive health, and community building, empowering children and adults with intellectual disabilities to be valued on and off the playing field.
About Us: Through programming in sports, inclusive health, education and community building, Special Olympics is changing the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Special Olympics removes barriers and stigmas that people with intellectual disabilities face, so that they can share their gifts and talents with their communities. Everyone who comes in touch with Special Olympics is impacted in a way that helps them strive to achieve their personal best.
Our Commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access: Special Olympics Washington commits to building an inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible community that empowers individuals with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities to celebrate their similarities and differences. Through our programming, we foster a community of belonging and inclusion for all.
Participation: Persons with intellectual disabilities, regardless of ability level, may participate in sports and other programs offered by Special Olympics Washington. Individuals are eligible for training and competition at age eight and there is no upper age limit. Thousands of athletes and Unified partners take part in Special Olympics Washington activities. Worldwide, more than 5.7 million athletes compete in Special Olympics programs in 200 countries and jurisdictions.
Athlete Leadership: The purpose of the Athlete Leadership program is to empower athletes to develop leadership skills and utilize their voices and abilities to undertake meaningful leadership roles, influence change in the Special Olympics movement and create inclusive communities around the world. Athlete Leaders develop their leadership skills through regular leadership trainings and by participating on local Athlete Leadership Councils.
Training & Competition: Training and competition is offered year-round to Special Olympics athletes. Competition takes place at local, regional and state tournaments. Individuals and teams compete in divisions according to age, gender and ability.
Youth Activation: Special Olympics youth programs are education and sports based strategies powered by an engaged youth community that increases athletic and leadership opportunities for students with and without intellectual disabilities, while creating communities of acceptance.
Volunteers: Thousands of volunteers support Special Olympics Washington activities. Volunteers serve as coaches, sports officials, committee members and on-site volunteers at competitions and fundraising events. Coaches and officials are trained and certified at clinics offered by Special Olympics Washington. More than 650,000 volunteers support Special Olympics programs worldwide.
Funding: Special Olympics Washington is a registered 501(c) (3) non-profit organization supported entirely by individual, corporate and foundation contributions. Athletes participate at no cost to themselves or their families.
Unified Sports: Athletes with intellectual disabilities pair with persons without disabilities and form teams for training and competition. Unified Sports integrates Special Olympics athletes with other athletes to build self-esteem and increase understanding of persons with different abilities.
Healthy Athletes: Special Olympics athletes are provided opportunities to improve health and fitness through dental, vision, hearing, feet and general health screenings. Physicians and healthcare professionals provide these services at no cost to Special Olympics athletes at tournaments.
Starting in July 2024, Special Olympics Washington will be shifting from a four-season sports and competition model to a three-season structure: Winter, Spring, Fall.
Please visit our Sport Season Changes page for the latest information on the sports that will be offered each season.
Young Athletes: An inclusive and welcoming learning environment for children with and without intellectual disabilities from ages 2 to 7 years old. Young Athletes programs provide a focus on teamwork while also teaching children basic sports skills such as running, kicking and throwing.