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Become a Special
Olympics Athlete

As a Special Olympics athlete, you’ll join thousands of other Oregonians who participate in our programs every year — and our focus will always be on you and all you can achieve. Whether you consider yourself an athlete or you’ve never tried a sport, Special Olympics Oregon is a great way to have fun, develop new skills and build your self-confidence.

Special Olympics is
training for life.

Kid running with Baton

Our programs give athletes the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of sports. Through year-round training and competition, we offer sports as a proven pathway to better health, essential life skills and lifelong friendships. Along the way, you’ll meet interesting people, become more connected to your community and achieve new heights.

We serve those with intellectual disabilities.

Anyone at least 8 years old who has been identified as having an intellectual (or cognitive) disability by a medical professional is eligible to join Special Olympics. There is no upper age limit.

Special Olympics is free to
all athlete participants.

There’s never a cost to join, train or compete. Special Olympics Oregon raises funds through sponsorships, private donations and special events that support our 30 Local Programs and 150 school-based programs across Oregon.

Choose from 14 sports across multiple seasons.

We strive to provide variety for our athletes. Based on available resources, facilities and coaches, the following sports may be available through Local Programs and Unified Champion Schools across Oregon:

Winter Sports

(December - March)
  • Alpine Skiing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowshoeing
  • Basketball
  • Powerlifting

Summer Sports

(April - July)
  • Athletics (Track & Field)
  • Bocce
  • Golf
  • Softball

Fall Sports

(August - November)
  • Swimming
  • Bowling
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball

You’ll be well-prepared to compete.

Depending upon your sport, you’ll have one- to two-hour practice sessions once or twice a week for at least eight weeks before your first competition.

Ready to join? Here are the steps:


Contact your Local Program.

You can find them here or call the Special Olympics Oregon main office at 503-248-0600 and we’ll provide you with the contact information.


Get an Application for Participation.

A volunteer from your Local Program will provide you with the application form, which is often referred to as the “athlete medical” and includes a medical release. The medical release is similar to that required for participation in a school sports program. It provides us with necessary information, including your health history and emergency contact information. The medical release is also required since Special Olympics Oregon provides secondary insurance coverage for all our athletes.


Complete the form in full and have your physician sign the medical release portion.

Return your form to the Local Program prior to the medical deadline date for the sport in which you are interested. Once completed, the medical release form is valid for three years. Please note that the full application is required for participation in Special Olympics Oregon.


Get Ready!

Once your form is submitted, your Local Program will contact you with information about which sports are offered, and where and when training sessions will happen.

Have a question or need more information?

Contact us or find the Local Program near you.