Unified Sports

Unified Sports golf team

Special Olympics Unified Sports:

  • Combines Special Olympics athletes with athletes without intellectual disabilities (known as Partners).
  • Unified partners and athletes train and compete together.
  • Athletes' and Partners' ages and abilities are matched differently from sport to sport.


For more information about Unified Sports opportunities in your area please click here

The concept of combining athletes with intellectual disabilities and those without was first introduced in the mid-1980's to provide another challenge for higher- ability athletes and to promote equality and inclusion. Today, the initiative includes virtually all Special Olympics sports.

Unified Sports dramatically increases the inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilities in the community, through breaking down barriers that have otherwise kept groups apart. An estimated 50,000 athletes worldwide participate in Unified Sports programs in conjunction with schools, parks and recreation departments, and other community sports organizations. Special Olympics Michigan currently offers Unified Sports competition in basketball, poly hockey, softball, bowling, soccer, cycling, volleyball and golf.

For questions regarding Unified Sports contact Heather Burke at (989) 774-3911 or Burke1hn@cmich.edu.

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