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For 40 years, Special Olympics has used sports to fight for the rights and abilities of people with intellectual disability. Through the common and simple vehicle of sports, Special Olympics has helped bring about an attitude change in the way people with intellectual disability view themselves and are viewed and treated by others, replacing misunderstanding and fear with respect, acceptance and inclusion.

SOPA offers competition in the following sports:

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Alpine Skiing

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Figure Skating

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Soccer

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Athletics

SO SportsIcon Floor Hockey Reversed Circle

Floor Hockey

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Softball

SO SportsIcon Basketball Reversed Circle

Basketball

SO SportsIcon Floor Golf Reversed Circle

Golf

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Speed Skating

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Bocce


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Gymnastics

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Snowshoeing

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Bowling


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Long Distance Run/Walk

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Swimming (Aquatics)

SO SportsIcon Cross Country Skiing Reversed Circle

Cross Country Skiing

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Powerlifting

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Tennis

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Equestrian


SO SportsIcon Roller Skating Reversed Circle

Roller Skating

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Volleyball

 

Emerging Sports

Emerging Sports – As the name states, the following sports are new to SOPA. Training and local competitions may be taking place, but competition will not be offered at the State Level until the training numbers meet the requirement for adding a new sport.

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Cycling

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Flag Football

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Kayaking

 

 


 

Alpine Skiing

Alpine skiing was first introduced as an Official Special Olympics Sport in 1977 at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The training season is usually from December to February.


Athletics

Athletics was an event at the first Special Olympics International Games held in Chicago, Illinois in 1968. Athletics Training Season is usually from March to June. 

Mini Javelin (Turbo Jav) 

For more information, click on this link www.turbojav.com


Basketball

Basketball was first contested in 1968 at the first Special Olympics Games in Chicago, Illinois. Basketball events combine both team and individual skills competitions. Basketball is a summer sport and training season is usually from January to June.


Bocce

Bocce is one of Special Olympics' newer sports, having been introduced at the World Games level for the first time in 1995. Bocce is a Fall sport and training season is usually from July to November.


Bowling

Bowling was introduced as a Special Olympics sport in 1975. Bowling is mainly a Spring and Summer sport and training is usually from September to June.


Cross Country Skiing

Special Olympics Cross Country Skiing was first included in the 1977 Special Olympics World Winter Games. The training season is usually from December to February.


Equestrian

At the 1987 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Indianapolis, Indiana, 38 athletes competed in the equestrian sports competition; one year later equestrian was added as an official Special Olympics sport. The training season is usually year round with a culminating event at Summer Games in June at Penn State University.


Figure Skating

Special Olympics Figure Skating was first included in the 1977 Special Olympics World Winter Games. The training season is usually from October to February.


Floor Hockey

Floor hockey was first introduced as a Special Olympics sport at the 1970 Special Olympics World Winter Games. Floor Hockey events combine both team and individual skills competitions. It is the only team sport among the Special Olympics Winter Sports. Floor Hockey training season is usually from November to March.


Golf

Golf made its debut at the 1995 Special Olympics World Summer Games in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. The training season is usually beginning in March and, in PA, culminates at Summer Games in June at Penn State University.


Gymnastics

Special Olympics Gymnastics was first included in 1972 as an official sport in the Third International Special Olympics World Summer Games, when 11 athletes competed in tumbling and free exercise routines. Gymnastics Training Season is usually year round with a culminating event for PA athletes at Summer Games in June at Penn State University.


Long Distance Running/Walking

LDR and LDW Training Season is usually year round with a culminating event at Fall Festival in November at Villanova University.


Powerlifting

Powerlifting was introduced to Special Olympics in 1983. The training season is usually year round with a culminating event in November at Fall Festival - Villanova University.


Roller Skating

Roller Skating was inaugurated at the 1987 Special Olympics World Summer Games held in Indiana, USA. The training season is usually year round with a culminating event at Fall Festival in November.


Soccer

Soccer (Football) was introduced to Special Olympics in 1979. Soccer events combine both team and individual skills competitions. Soccer is a fall sport and the training season is usually from August to November.


Softball

Special Olympics softball was introduced in 1983. Softball events combine both team and individual skills competitions. Softball is a summer sport and the training season is usually from March to June.


Speed Skating

Speed Skating was first contested on an international level at the 1977 Special Olympics World Winter Games. The training season is usually from October to February.


Snowshoeing

Special Olympics snowshoeing was inaugurated at the 1997 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Toronto, Canada. The training season is usually from December to February.


Swimming (Aquatics)

Aquatics was an event at the first Special Olympics International Games held in Chicago, Illinois in 1968. Aquatics Training Season is usually year round with a culminating event at Summer Games in June at Penn State University.


Tennis

Tennis became an official Special Olympics sport in 1987. The training season is usually from October to June. For a Tennis Service Representative in your area, contact USTA Middle States - USTA Middle States.


Volleyball

Volleyball was introduced to Special Olympics in 1983 and is a Fall Sport for Special Olympics Pennsylvania. Volleyball events combine both team and individual skills competitions. Training Season is usually from August to November.

 


 

Emerging Sports

Cycling

In 1987, Cycling became an official Special Olympics Sport. Special Olympics includes time trial and road race events in different distances. Every athlete riding his/ her bike aims to travel at the best possible time and arrive at the finish line first. Athlete training takes place in late spring and throughout the summer.

Flag Football

At the 2010 National Games in Nebraska, Flag Football was held as a demonstration sport. In 2014 USA Games Flag Football was one of the 12 sports offered. Athlete training takes place in late spring and throughout the summer.

Kayaking

Kayaking first made an appearance at Special Olympics World Games in 2003 as a demonstration sport in Dublin, Ireland and at the 2007 Special Olympics World Games in Shanghai, China, where athletes from 6 countries competed in Kayaking events. Athlete training takes place in late spring and throughout the summer.

Training

Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) offers year-round sports training. Training is the essential element of Special Olympics. Our athletes are well-prepared physically and psychologically before they enter competitions by completing the mandatory eight weeks of training prior to competing.

Cross-training has become increasingly popular among our athletes and coaches. Many of our athletes compete in a different sport every season -- an athlete who plays soccer in the fall often competes in speed skating in the winter and plays basketball in the summer. All training is offered free of charge to our athletes and their families.

Competition

Special Olympics competitions use a unique divisioning system based on age, gender, and ability. By assigning athletes to divisions commensurate with their ability, every athlete is given a reasonable chance to win.

Athletes compete in competitions at the local level and also have the opportunity to go on to sectional and state-level competitions. World Games take place every two years alternating between Summer and Winter Games.

In addition, SOPA offers Unified Sports®, which combines approximately equal numbers of athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to form sports teams for training and competition. The Motor Activities Training Program (MATP) provides comprehensive motor activity and recreational training for people with severe intellectual disabilities or multiple disabilities.

Rules and Coaching Guides – provided by Special Olympics International