Choose Your Sport

Showcase talents. Build skills. Develop character traits. Change stereotypes about people with intellectual abilities. These are just some of the opportunities provided by Special Olympics New York, through training and competition in 22 Olympic-style sports.

Participation is free to registered athletes. We cover the costs of insurance, facilities, equipment, uniforms, awards, housing and meals at events, and more. Special Olympics New York rules support the widest range of abilities possible, giving all athletes a level playing field and a reasonable chance to win.

Showcase talents. Build skills. Develop character traits. Change stereotypes about people with intellectual abilities. These are just some of the opportunities provided by Special Olympics New York, through training and competition in 22 Olympic-style sports.

Participation is free to registered athletes. We cover the costs of insurance, facilities, equipment, uniforms, awards, housing and meals at events, and more. Special Olympics New York rules support the widest range of abilities possible, giving all athletes a level playing field and a reasonable chance to win.

Basketball is a one of the top sports at Special Olympics. Players take it up at all ages and at all abilities, from young players learning to handle the ball and keep it under control while dribbling to older, more experienced players who have the moves and know the

strategies to play challenging ball.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 41,618

Summer: March through June, with State Summer Games in June

Governing Body: National Federation of State High School Associations

Bocce is an Italian game. The basic principle of the sport is to roll a bocce ball closest to the target ball, which is called a pallina. Bocce as a Special Olympics sport provides people with special needs the opportunity to have social contact, develop physically and to gain self-confidence. Next to Soccer and Golf, Bocce is the third most participated sport in the world.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 5,419

Fall: July through September, with State Fall Games in October

Governing Body: World Bocce Association

Ten-pin Bowling commonly called "Bowling" in the US, is a competitive sport in which a player (the "bowler") rolls a bowling ball down a wooden or synthetic lane with the objective of scoring points by knocking down as many pins as possible. Bowling is considered to be among the most popular sport in the Special Olympics. It is a particularly beneficial sport to people with intellectual disabilities, irrespective of their age or sports abilities, since it ensures physical exercise and at the same time participation and social integration.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 46,530

Summer: March through June, with State Summer Games in June

Governing Body: USA Bowling

Cycling is a fascinating sport that requires good physical condition, balance,   endurance and tactics. Special Olympics include time trial and road race events in different distances. Every athlete riding his/ hers bike aims at traveling at the best possible time and arrive at the finish line first.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 173

Fall: July through October, with State Fall Games in October

Governing Body: USA Cycling

The sport of athletics encourages athletes of all abilities and ages to compete at their optimum level. Through the track-and-field-based athletics training program, participants can develop total fitness to compete in any sport. As with all Special Olympics sports, athletics offers athletes the opportunity to learn through skill development and competitive settings and to be involved in large social settings.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 113

Fall: July through October, with State Fall Games in October

Governing Body: USA Track & Field

One of the most fascinating sports during the Special Olympics World Games. The balance, the stability and the right communication between the horse and the rider is a key element for success in Equestrian sport.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 139

Fall: July through October, with State Fall Games in October

Governing Body: United States Equestrian Team

Note: Equestrian coaches have specialized training and extensive experience

Floor hockey is a family of indoor hockey games, usually in the style of ice hockey, that are played on flat floor surfaces, such as a basketball court. As in other hockey codes, players on each team attempt to shoot a ball or puck into a goal using sticks, usually with a curved end.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 23,818

Winter: November through February, with State Winter Games in February

Governing Body:  Special Olympics

Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players (or golfers) use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes. The game is played on golf “courses”, each of which features a unique design, although courses typically consist of either nine or 18 holes.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 3,169

Fall: July through October, with State Fall Games in October

Governing Body: United States Golf Association

Artistic Gymnastics is a discipline of gymnastics where gymnasts perform short routines (ranging from approximately 30 to 90 seconds) on different apparatus, with less time for vaulting.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 664

Summer: March through June, with State Summer Games in June

Governing Body: USA Gymnastics

Note: Gymnastics coaches have specialized training and extensive experience

Every athlete aims in lifting more weights than the opponent using specific moves. In Special Olympics Powerlifting is much more than deadlift, squat or bench press. It is effort, persistence and loyalty. Training, determination and attitude, are the key facts that define the balance between a successful or a failed attempt. The barbell, despite testing the physical strength, is also highlighting the athlete’s inner wish to improve, “not to make compromises.”

Number of Athletes Statewide: 145

Summer: March through June, with State Summer Games in June

Governing Body: USA Powerlifting

Note: Powerlifting coaches have specialized training and extensive experience

Figure skating is a sport in which individuals, pairs, or groups perform spins, jumps, footwork and other intricate and challenging moves on ice skates. Figure skaters compete at various levels from beginner up to the Olympic level (senior), and at local, national, and international competitions.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 54

Winter: November through February, with State Winter Games in February

Governing Body: United States Figure Skating Association

Speed Skating today is a lifetime fitness sport for individuals of all ages. Speed Skating provides both cardiovascular and aerobic benefits as well as improving muscle strength, balance, and coordination. Today, the sport can be enjoyed year round with indoor skating facilities found throughout the world. As a recreational and competition sport, Ice Speed Skating offers the potential for social integration for both training and competition experiences within multi-level Special Olympics competition experiences as well as training and competition experiences through this sport's National Governing Body.

Winter: November through February, with State Winter Games in February

Governing Body: USA Speedskating

Alpine skiing is a demanding sport, and athletes will benefit by being in good physical condition to compete successfully and safely. Alpine skiing requires, in addition to a basic combination of endurance and strength, a high capacity of quickness and action/reaction endurance. Through proper training, the athletes improve their physical, psychological and mental efficiency.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 167

Winter: November through February, with State Winter Games in February

Governing Body: United States Ski Association

Note: Alpine skiing coaches have specialized training and extensive experience

Cross Country Skiing is offered as one of 4 Special Olympics snow sports, along with Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding and Snowshoeing. Cross Country Skiing is a winter sport in which participants propel themselves across snow-covered terrain using skis and poles.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 1,501

Winter: November through February, with State Winter Games in February

Governing Body: FIS

 

Snowboarding is a sport that involves descending a slope that is covered with snow on a snowboard attached to a rider's feet using a special boot set onto mounted binding.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 17

Winter: November through February, with State Winter Games in February

Governing Body: FIS

Snowshoeing is quickly becoming a favorite for outdoor winter activity. Combining aerobic activity with ease of walking over snow without sinking in, snowshoeing is an activity for all ages. Snowshoe races are part of the Arctic Winter Games and the winter Special Olympics.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 312

Winter: November through February, with State Winter Games in February

Governing Body: Special Olympics

Played in just about every country, the sport’s success is due to the fact that it can be played by boys, girls, men and women of just about any physical build and ability. Football requires little in the way of specialized equipment and is organized using simple, intuitive rules.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 27,202

Fall: July through October, with State Fall Games in October

Governing Body: USA Soccer

Softball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of 10 to 14 players. Every team aims in scoring as many runs possible, against the opponents by striking the ball with a specific bat. It is a direct descendant of baseball although there are some key differences: softballs are larger than baseballs, and the pitches are thrown underhand rather than overhand. The game is played on a smaller diamond than in baseball and despite the game's name, the standard softball is not soft; in fact, it is harder than a baseball.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 18,356

Fall: July through October, with State Fall Games in October

Governing Body: Amateur Softball Association

Swimming is one of the most popular sports in world. Unlike other sports, swimming is a life skill that is taught, first, to ensure safety and, secondly, for sports and competition purposes. Aquatics covers a great variety of swimming skills, from short sprints to longer events and relays.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 3,091

Summer: March through June, with State Summer Games in June

Governing Body: USA Swimming

Note: Aquatics coaches have specialized training and extensive experience

Tennis is a popular sport played by players of all ages, at all levels of ability. Athletes are trained in all aspects of the game, including stroke production, court craft and the rules of competition.

The sport emphasizes values, such as fair play, sportsmanship and respect for fellow competitors. Tennis is not only fun to play, but it is a lifetime sport activity that is fun to practice and fun to learn.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 8,799

Summer: March through June, with State Summer Games in June

Governing Body: Tennis Federation (ITF)

The sport of athletics encourages athletes of all abilities and ages to compete at their optimum level. Through the track-and-field-based athletics training program, participants can develop total fitness to compete in any sport. As with all Special Olympics sports, athletics offers athletes the opportunity to learn through skill development and competitive settings and to be involved in large social settings.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 45,418

Summer: March through June, with State Summer Games in June

Governing Body: USA Track & Field

The game of volleyball is attractive to all types of players, from competitive to recreational, young and old. To play volleyball players need to acquire a few basic skills, learn a few rules, require very little equipment, and can play the game almost anywhere – from the beach to the gym. The aim of the sport is to score more points by hitting the ball with the hands and sending it over the net to the opponent's court.

Number of Athletes Statewide: 23,121

Summer: March through June, with State Summer Games in June

Governing Body: USA Volleyball