We are REAL Sports


What qualifies someone as a Special Olympics athlete? Any child or adult with a diagnosed intellectual disability is eligible. Children can start as early as age 2 in our Young Athletes® program.

At age 8, children are able to participate in team or individual sports seasons and qualify to participate in local and state competitions. We offer 27 different sports, year-round events and more than 500 competition opportunities in the state. Athletes must train a miminum of 8 weeks to qualify for a competition.

girl volleyball




Unified Sports Program® combines approximately equal numbers of Special Olympics athletes with athletes without intellectual disabilities (called Unified Partners) on sports teams for training and competition.  This program is successful on and off of the field. It brings inclusion to Special Olympics athletes and expanded friendships far beyond sports.  SO-SC offers Unified Sports® competition in badminton, basketball, bocce, bowling, cheerleading, disc golf, flag football, golf, gymnastics (artistic & rhythmic) kayaking, sailing, soccer, swimming, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.

State Competitions

State Basketball Championship - Spring


This competition offers all levels of basketball including traditional and unified divisions, collegiate divisions and skills.

State Summer Games - Spring


This multi-sport competition takes place in Columbia. Sports include Bocce, Bowling, Gymnastics, Powerlifting, Softball, Swimming and Track & Field.

State Cheer - Spring

Held in Columbia, this competition features all levels of cheerleading events including individual and squad competitions. 

State Equestrian Show - Spring

This competition features equestrians from around the state. Typically held at the Aiken Horse Park Foundation.

State Kayaking Competition - Summer

Kayak teams from around the state compete in various races at James Island State Park in Charleston.

State Tennis Championship - Fall

Typically held in September, our State Tennis Championship is known as September Slammer! Athletes from around the state come to Columbia to compete in various levels of tennis.

State Fall Games

Fall Games is held in Conway, SC at Coastal Carolina University. This multi-sport weekend event brings more than 1400 athletes, coaches and unified partners plus even more families and volunteers to the Grand Strand area. Fall sports include Under 21 Bocce, Masters Bowling, Disc golf, Golf, Flag football and soccer.


National and International CompetitionsTara Freeman

Special Olympics USA Games are held every four years. The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games will be held in Orlando, Florida.

Special Olympics World Winter and Summer Games are held every two years on a rotating basis. The 2021 World Winter Games will be held in Sweden and the 2023 World Summer Games will be held in Berlin, Germany.

© 2015 South Carolina Special Olympics, 109 Oak Park Drive, Irmo, SC 29063