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Become an Athlete

Special Olympics Connecticut provides sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympics-type sports for people 8 years of age and older with intellectual disabilities and closely related developmental disabilities. Athletes participate from all across the state and can compete in up to 4 sports annually. We also encourage our athletes to become leaders and give back to others through our Athlete Leadership Program (ALPS). Through the ALPS program, athletes may train to become Global Messengers, coaches, officials, games management team members, committee members and board members.

Sports offered
Local Programs
Who is Eligible to Participate?
Identifying Persons with Intellectual Disabilities
Degree of Disability
Multiple Handicaps
Unified Sports
For more information about ALPS click here.

Sports Offered to Connecticut Athletes:

Summer Games:
(March-June Season)

Athletics (Track & Field)

Fall Sports Festival:
(June-September Season)


Holiday Sports Classic:
(September-November Season)


Winter Games:
(November-March Season)

Alpine Skiing
Cross Country Skiing
Figure Skating
Floor Hockey
Speed Skating

Who Is Eligible to Participate in Special Olympics?

Throughout Connecticut there are over 30,000 persons with intellectual disabilities who can benefit from Special Olympics Connecticut programs. Eligible athletes are all children and adults, at least 8 years old, with intellectually disabilities, a cognitive delay, or a closely related developmental disability. Children ages 6 & 7 may participate in Special Olympics training, but may not compete before his or her 8th birthday. There is no maximum age limitation for participation in Special Olympics Connecticut.

Identifying Persons with Intellectual Disabilities:

A person is considered to have intellectual disabilities for purposes of determining his or her eligibility to participate in Special Olympics if that person satisfies any one of the following requirements.

  • The person has been identified by an agency or professional as having intellectual disabilities as determined by their localities
  • The person has a cognitive delay, as determined by standardized measures such as intelligent quotient or "IQ" testing or other measures that are generally accepted within the professional community in that Accredited Program's nation as being a reliable measurement of the existence of a cognitive delay
  • The person has a closely related developmental disability. A "closely related developmental disability" means having functional limitations in both general learning (such as IQ) and in adaptive skills (such as in recreation, work, independent living, self-direction, or self care).

If the person is identified as having a developmental disability with functional limitations in both general learning and adaptive skills, it must still be determined by an agency or a professional whether or not the functional limitations are solely due to intellectual disabilities or a closely related developmental disability. If the functional limitations are solely due to: physical disabilities, emotional disturbance, behavior disorders, specific learning disabilities, visual impairments, or sensory disabilities, this person is not eligible for Special Olympics Connecticut.

Degree of Disability

Participation in Special Olympics training and competition is open to all persons with intellectual disabilities who meet the age requirements, regardless of the level or degree of that person's disability, and whether or not that person also has other mental or physical disabilities, so long as that person registers to participate in Special Olympics as required.

Multiple Handicaps

Persons who have multiple handicaps may participate in Special Olympics provided they are eligible as noted above.


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