The heart and soul of Special Olympics D.C. are children and adults with intellectual disabilities who participate year-round in a wide range of sports.
When presented with the opportunity and proper training, these athletes demonstrate their abilities through sports experiences and show the community the true spirit of sports. Every athlete in our program has one thing in common and that is the desire to do their best and have fun at the same time.
There is never any cost for the athletes or their families to participate in Special Olympics D.C.; every single program is free of charge.
Sports enable athletes to develop athletic, social and life skills; physical fitness; and self-esteem. Athletes train for a minimum of eight weeks and must meet training standards established for each sport in order to progress to the culminating Special Olympics D.C. championship event.
Participants in the Special Olympics D.C. program range in age from 5 to over 85! Anyone 8 years old or older has the opportunity to train and compete in any of the sports offered. Athletes that are between the ages of 5 to 7 are allowed to train, but cannot compete in a championship event. The one exception is if an athlete turns eight prior to the start of Summer Games, he or she is eligible for participation in championship events for that program year.
It is a fact that children and adults with intellectual disabilities who participate in Special Olympics develop improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self confidence, and a more positive self image. They grow mentally and socially and through their involvement and constantly demonstrate courage while experiencing joy in sharing their gifts, skills, and friendships with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.