Athletes/Family

Welcome to Special Olympics Illinois!

You are about to become part of an exciting training and competition program and will get to experience firsthand the transformational power of Special Olympics programs. Special Olympics participation encompasses over 19 official sports, Unified Sports, Athlete Leadership Programs, Young Athletes sports play programs and community initiatives– truly a spectrum of choices! So let’s get started!

Athletes

Athletes are the focus of our organization and the reason we are here. Our traditional sports program serves athletes from ages 8 onward and children from 2-7 can participate in our Young Athletes Program. Special Olympics Illinois also offers transitional activities for 6 and 7 year olds. Not sure where to start? Fill out our Athlete Interest Form.

How to Become an Athlete – Find an Agency
    1. Determine if you are eligible to participate. Read the Athlete Eligibility Statement
    2. Find and join an agency accepting new athletes by filling out the Athlete Interest Form or contact your Area Director
    3. Fill out an English Medical Application or Spanish Medical Application(MedApp).

Work with your agency to pick out a sport that suits you.

  • Train, train, train! You will need to get in a minimum of 8 weeks of training prior to the local Special Olympics competition.
  • Attend the local Special Olympics competition with your coach and give it your all!
  • If you qualify for the next level of competition make sure to keep practicing so you’ll be ready.
  • Have fun, demonstrate good sportsmanship and always remember the Special Olympics oath “Let me Win, but if I cannot Win, Let Me be Brave in the Attempt.”

 

How to Become an Athlete – No Agency in Area
  1. Determine if you are eligible to participate. Read the Athlete Eligibility Statement
  2. Identify a person to start an independent agency. More Information
  3. Fill out an English Medical Application or Spanish Medical Application(MedApp).

Work with your agency to pick out a sport that suits you.

  • Train, train, train! You will need to get in a minimum of 8 weeks of training prior to the local Special Olympics competition.
  • Attend the local Special Olympics competition with your coach and give it your all!
  • If you qualify for the next level of competition make sure to keep practicing so you’ll be ready.
  • Have fun, demonstrate good sportsmanship and always remember the Special Olympics oath “Let me Win, but if I cannot Win, Let Me be Brave in the Attempt.”

Unified Partners

Unified sports brings together 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. A Unified partner is a non-intellectually disabled partner who competes with people of similar age and ability on a team.

How to become a Unified Partner
  1. Contact your Area Director to find an Agency.
  2. Complete and turn in the Unified Partner Form
  3. Work with your agency to pick out a sport that suits you.
  4. Train, train, train! You will need to get in a minimum of 8 weeks of training prior to the local Special Olympics competition.
  5. Attend the local Special Olympics competition with your team.
  6. If you qualify for the next level of competition make sure to keep practicing so you’ll be ready.
  7. Have fun, demonstrate good sportsmanship and enjoy getting to know your teammates as they could be friends for life!

Families

Families play a critical role in the continued success and growth of Special Olympics Illinois. Families are a constant source of support and encouragement for their athlete. There are many ways for families to get involved, just a few are listed below.

How to Get Involved as a Family

 

Visit our State Competitions page for more information about State Games and activities.  To find out more about getting involved as a family you can also contact Karen Milligan at 1-800-394-0562 or 1-309-888-2551.


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Additional Links

Athlete Leadership Programs (ALPs)

Find Your Local Program

Resources page

Event Calendar