Special Olympics Unified Sports

Unified Sports brings together high school students with and without intellectual disabilities to train and compete on the same sports team. Missed out on the first half of Unified Sports this school year? Check out the Unified Update newsletter.

Team Composition

All Unified Sports teams are made up of athletes (students with intellectual disabilities) and partners (students without intellectual disabilities). The number and partners and athletes needed for each team depends on the sport or activity. Students with physical disabilities will be classified as either an athlete or a partner depending on whether or not they have an intellectual disability as well.


  • Students with physical disabilities will be classified as either an athlete or a partner depending on whether or not they have an intellectual disability as well.
  • Joint school teams and onsite grade 9 students are permitted to play on Unified Sports teams.
  • An intellectual disability is defined by Special Olympics as the following:

“Intellectual disability (or ID) is a term used when a person has certain limitations in cognitive functioning and skills, including communication, social and self-care skills. These limitations can cause a child to develop and learn more slowly or differently than a typically developing child. Intellectual disability can happen anytime before a child turns 18 years old, even before birth. According to the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, an individual has intellectual disability if he or she meets three criteria:
1. IQ is below 70-75
2. There are significant limitations in two or more adaptive areas (skills that are needed to live, work ,and play in the community, such as communication or self-care)
3. The condition manifests itself before the age of 18”

Visit the Special Olympics website for more information.

Principle of Meaningful Involvement

Every player must be given the opportunity to contribute to the success of the team through his or her own unique skills and qualities. Coaches must work together to create balanced competitive environment so that athletes can focus on competing evenly and fairly with their opponents in a safe environment.

Four Unified Sports and Activities are being offered in the 2017/18 school year: Bocce, Baggo, Basketball, and Track. Information on each of these sports can be found int the subheadings to the left.

Hosting A Unified Event

Schools are encouraged to host their own Unified event or tournament and invite surrounding schools to participate. Some financial aid may be provided to cover costs such as lunch. Please contact Shanna for more information.

E-mail: shanna@asaa.ca
Phone: 780-422-8295

Special Olympics Unified Sports Upcoming Events

Event Host Location Date Contact
Unified Bean Bag Toss Chestermere Chestermere High School April 12, 2018 Sara Van Goudoever (svandgoudoever@rockyview.ab.ca)
Unified Bean Bag Toss Frank Maddock High School Drayton Valley May 1, 2018 Heather Bartling (heather.bartling@wrsd.ca)
Unified Basketball Calgary ASAA/Lester B. Pearson University of Calgary May 23, 2018 Shanna Kurylo (shanna@asaa.ca)
Unified Bocce Winston Churchill High School Lethbridge May 25, 2018 Jonathan Dick (jonathan.dick@lethsd.ab.ca)
Unified Sports Jamboree Metro Athletics/ASAA Saville Centre June 5, 2018 Michelle Ross (michelle@metroathletics.ca), Shawn Shepherd (shawn@metroathletics.ca) and Shanna Kurylo (shanna@asaa.ca)