Sport Season Changes

Updated: April 8, 2024

As we head into our 50th anniversary in 2025, the Special Olympics Washington staff is working hard to imagine what the next 50 years of Special Olympics Washington will look like and how program offerings will continue to evolve. To this end, we are excited to announce a new structure for our sports and competitions seasons. Beginning in July 2024, we will transition from four seasons to three seasons: Fall, Winter and Spring. 

After thorough consideration, research and input from coaches, volunteers, and athletes, we are implementing this new structure to:

  • Enhance the training and competition experiences for athletes.
  • Reduce the chance of injury for multi-season athletes by increasing the time for recovery in between seasons.
  • Increase the number of invitational sport opportunities for teams and individuals. 
  • Activate a local competition and recreational sports model that will promote growth at the regional level and add multiple tiers of competitive opportunities.  
  • Increase opportunities to recruit, maintain and sustain more long-term volunteers and coaches.

Over the next 18 months, here’s how we will transition to a three-season model:

  1. There will be no changes to the 2024 Spring Season or 2024 State Spring Games.
  2. In 2024, due to the short length of the season as we transition to the new Fall Season, there will be no Summer regional competitions or 2024 State Summer Games. Instead, teams may choose to participate in local or recreation opportunities led by the local program or team; more information on how to do this will be provided. We will also be hosting our annual Leadership Conference during this time. Lastly, one of the priorities of our Beyond Gold strategy is to leverage technology to make it easier for our participants to engage with us and it is our hope to utilize the summer to begin transitioning coaches and athletes to a new online registration system.
  3. The 2024 Fall Season will begin in late July and will culminate with the State Fall Games on November 1-3 in the Tri-Cities. The sports offered will remain the same: bowling, flag football, gymnastics and volleyball.
  4. For Winter Season, the timeline and the sports offered will not change. The season will start in November and the State Winter Games will be held in early March. For 2025, Winter Season will begin on November 18, 2024 and the State Winter Games will be held February 28-March 2, 2025. Winter season sports will remain the same: alpine skiing, basketball, cheer, cross country skiing, figure skating, speed skating, snowboarding and snowshoeing.
  5. Beginning in 2025, Spring Season will begin in mid-March and run through the State Spring Games in mid-June. The season will be slightly longer and will offer additional sports – bocce, golf and softball – in addition to athletics (track and field), cycling, soccer and swimming.
  6. Beginning in 2025, there will be a Summer “off-season” period of 5-6 weeks during which individuals and teams will have the opportunity to try new sports, continue to recreate at a local level, and participate in other activities such as health programming or camp-type activities.
  7. Starting with the 2025 Fall Season, the sports offered in Fall will be expanded to include pickleball, tennis and powerlifting. These are in addition to bowling, flag football, gymnastics and volleyball. Fall Season will begin in July and State Fall Games will be held in early November.
  8. Opportunities to qualify for the 2026 Special Olympics USA Games in Minnesota will not be affected for any of our existing sports.

In cased you missed the recently-held Sport Season Changes town hall meetings, the recordings are now available:

To share your feedback or to submit questions regarding the changes, please complete this form

Frequently Asked Questions 

FAQs (current as of March 25, 2024)