Why AG Students Love Unified Sports!
Check out our latest video with highlights from our Special Olympics Leadership Team
Team sports bring people together. Special Olympics Unified Sports® teams do that, too and much more. About 1.4 million people worldwide take part in Unified Sports, breaking down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities in a really fun way. ESPN has served as the Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports since 2013, supporting the growth and expansion of this program that empowers individuals with and without intellectual disabilities to engage through the power of sports.
Promoting Social Inclusion Through Sport
Special Olympics is dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences. Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.
In Unified Sports, teams are made up of people of similar age and ability. That makes practices more fun and games more challenging and exciting for all. Having sport in common is just one more way that preconceptions and false ideas are swept away.
U.S. States Embracing Unified Sports
Young people with disabilities do not often get a chance to play on their school sports teams. More and more U.S. states are adopting the Unified Sports approach that Special Olympics pioneered.
Unified Sports is also an integral part of Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools, which was founded in 2008 and funded through the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education to use Special Olympics as a way to build inclusion and tolerance in schools. Unified Sports are now in more than 4500 elementary, middle and high schools in the United States. Seventy percent of Unified Champion Schools (Pre-K through Grade 12) are engaging in Unified Sports! Also 215 US colleges and universities have Special Olympics College Clubs on campus, providing ongoing Unified and inclusionary activities for students and Special Olympics athletes. 73 of the 215 US colleges and universities activating Special Olympics College conduct ongoing Unified Sports on their campus. Learn how to get involved, visit: www.playunified.org.