General Knowledge

Philosophy
Special Olympics is founded on the belief that people with intellectual disabilities can, with proper instruction and encouragement, learn, enjoy and benefit from participation in individual and team sports. Special Olympics believes that consistent training is essential to the development of sports skills, and that competition among those of equal abilities is the most appropriate means of testing these skills, measuring progress and providing incentives for personal growth. Special Olympics believes that through sports training and competition, people with intellectual disabilities benefit physically, mentally, socially and spiritually; families are strengthened; and the community at large, both through participation and observation, is united in understanding people with intellectual disabilities in an environment of equality, respect and acceptance.

Spirit of Special Olympics
That the “Spirit of Special Olympics” — skill, courage, sharing and joy — incorporates universal values which transcend all boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, race or religion.

The Mission of Special Olympics
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

The Goal of Special Olympics
That the goal of Special Olympics is to help bring all persons with intellectual disabilities into the larger society under conditions whereby they are accepted, respected and given a chance to become productive citizens.

Special Olympics Athlete Oath
Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.

Eligibility Requirements on Participation in Special Olympics
To be eligible to participate in Special Olympics, athletes must be at least 8 years old and identified by an agency or professional as having one of the following conditions: intellectual disability; a cognitive delay as determined by standardized measures such as intelligence quotient or other generally accepted measures; or a closely related development disability, i.e., functional limitations in both general learning and adaptive skills. There is no cost to participate in Special Olympics. All prospective athletes must register to participate in Special Olympics.

There is no maximum age limitation for participation in Special Olympics. The minimum age requirement for participation in Special Olympics competition is 8 years of age. For children with intellectual disabilities ages 2 through 7, Young Athletes strengthens physical development and self-esteem by building skills for future sports participation and socialization.

Summer Sports
Athletics, Aquatics (Swimming, Diving), Gymnastics, Basketball, weight-lifting, Bowling, Roller Skating, Golf, Bocce, Cycling, Softball, Equestrian, Tennis, Football (Soccer), Volleyball, Badminton, Table Tennis, Team Handball, Sailing, Kayaking, Judo,table tennis.

Winter Sports
Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Floor Hockey, Speed Skating, Figure Skating, Snowshoeing, Snowboarding.

Divisioning for Special Olympics
The fundamental difference that sets Special Olympics competitions apart from those of other sports organizations is that athletes of all ability levels are encouraged to participate, and every athlete is recognized for his or her performance. Competitions are structured so that athletes compete with other athletes of similar ability in equitable divisions.

Divide Athletes by Gender
Male, Female, and Mixed

Divide Athletes by Age
Individual Sports:8-11, 12-15, 16-21, 22-29 & above 30
Team Sports:below 15, 16-21 & above 22
Divide the group by athlete’s ages calculated on the opening date of the competition. The age for a team is determined by the age of the oldest athlete in that team on the opening date of the competition.

Divide Athletes by Ability
Declared records or results of the preliminary seeding round are used in dividing the group before preliminaries.
In individual sports, the highest and lowest scores within each division should be as similar as not exceeding 10% in difference.
Results from preliminary seeding round are used as proofs and modification supports in the official games.

Divide Athletes by Ability
To complete the divisioning process, divide the group according to their performance marks. In some instances age groups need to be broadened. In those cases, athletes within the new age groups will be re-ranked and grouped into divisions. This process must be repeated until the highest and lowest scores within each division are as similar as possible.

Divide Athletes into Mixed Gender Group
Athletes at the same age with similar performance, no matter male or female, may be mixed while the maximum number is 8 and the minimum 3.
Special Olympics regulates that all participating athletes should spare no efforts in both preliminary and official games or otherwise would be disqualified from the Special Olympics. Any athletes may be disqualified if his/her final results indicate a difference of 15% or more than the declared records or results of the preliminary seeding round.

Advancement of Special Olympics
How can an athlete be advanced from a lower level game to a higher level game (i.e. from regional game to world game)?

The athlete must have participated in a minimum of eight weeks in an organized training program under a SO coach before competition; The athlete must participate in the same sport or sports as he/she previously trained; The quota shall be reasonably allocated at priority to those of the first-place winners in at the lower level competition. If the number of first-place winners exceeds the quota, athletes shall be chosen by random selection from among all the division winners; Athletes of the second-place winners shall be chosen by random if the number of first-place falls short of quota, all the first place winner will be advanced. If the number of athletes thus selected still falls short, repeat the selection procedure mentioned above till the quota is reached ; Regional games can set out new rules according to athletes’ performance, health and other practical cases, by first submitting in written applications to SOI’s head office.

Difference between the Special Olympics, the Olympics Games and the Paralympic Games
The Special Olympics World Games is set up by Special Olympics International for people with intellectual disabilities. It differs from the Olympics Games and the Paralympics in the following aspects: participating athlete: Special Olympics athletes are usually those with IQ below 70; purpose: Special Olympics emphasizes participation instead of competition; sports rules: The rules of Special Olympics have unique characteristics, which fully demonstrate the principle of equal participation and competition based on equitable division of ability. Participating athletes will be divided according to age, gender and ability. Athletes with the same gender, similar age and equivalent ability will be placed in the same division.

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