Be a Fan of Inspiration ...

"When I first started playing two years ago, I wasn't that good," Bowers said. "I am better at the game now because I practice all the time."

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Be a Fan of Inclusion ...

Sanders found a new meaning to life when he joined Special Olympics. He said that being a part of this is keeping him off the streets and it's something to look forward to because he made new friends.

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Be a Fan of Sport ...

Martinez, who is from Sullivan County and is coached by Melissa Ebeling, believes that the Special Olympics has helped him stay motivated as well keeping positive.

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Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded Special Olympics with the belief that people with intellectual disabilities could learn, enjoy and benefit from participation inindividual and team sports. Consistent training is crucial in the development of an athlete’s sports skills.

The Special Olympics Sports Rules provides standards for Special Olympics training and competition. Anyone who is at least 6 years old and is identified as having an intellectual disability may train and compete as a Special Olympics athlete. Children between the ages of 2 ½ and 7 can participate in the Young Athletes program. Athletes must have a current Medical and Consent form on file and train with a certified Special Olympics coach for at least eight weeksand at least 8 years old to be eligible for competition.

Training Clubs
Athletes prepare for competition as members of a training club. They train under a certified Special Olympics coach. Training clubs can be found in schools, service agencies and community recreation centers throughout the state.

Seasonal Training
Athletes train for an entire training season in preparation for local, regional, super regional and State Games competition opportunities. A sports season is typically eight to ten weeks long and includes:
  • Sports skills training
  • Fitness Training
  • Instruction in sports rules and sportsmanship

Athletes train in suitable sports attire and are provided with proper equipment. Facilities are safe and appropriate to the sport in which the athletes are training.