Special Olympics


          Mission Statement:  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 intellectually disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participation in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.


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, adapted as necessary to meet the needs of those with special mental and physical limitations.


Special Olympics believes that consistent training, with emphasis on physical conditioning, 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 with people with mental handicaps in an environment of equality, respect and acceptance.


Special Olympics believes that every person with intellectual disabilities who is at least eight years old should have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from sports training and competition.  Special Olympics also permits individual programs to accept children from ages 5 – 7 for training, but these children may not participate in Special Olympics competitions.


Eligibility for participation in Special Olympics:


General State of Eligibility:  Special Olympics training and competition is open to every person with intellectual disabilities who is at least eight years of age and who registers to participate in Special Olympics as required by the General Rules.


Age Requirements:  There are no maximum age limitations for participation in Special Olympics. The minimum age requirement for participation in Special Olympics is eight years of age.  An accredited Program may permit children who are at least six years old to participate in age-appropriate Special Olympics training programs offered by that Accredited Program, or in specific (and age-appropriate) cultural or social activities offered during the course of a Special Olympics event.  Such children may be recognized for their participation in such training or other non-competition activities through certificates of participation, or through other types of recognition approved by SOI which are not associated with participation in Special Olympics competition.  However, no child may participate in a Special Olympics competition (or be awarded medals or ribbons associated with competition) before his or her eighth birthday.




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.


Identifying Persons with Intellectual Disabilities:  A person is considered to have a mental handicap, for the purpose of determining his or her eligibility to participate in Special Olympics, if that person satisfies any one of the following requirements:


1)     The person has been identified by an agency or professional as having a

      intellectual disability determined by their localities; or


2)     The person has a cognitive delay, as determined by standardized measures such

      as intelligent quotient or “IQ” testing or other measures which 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; or


3)     The person has 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). 

     However, persons whose functional limitations are based solely on a physical,

     behavioral, or emotional disability, or a specific learning or sensory disability,

     are not eligible to participate as Special Olympics athletes, but may be eligible to

     volunteer for Special Olympics as partners in Unified Sports if they otherwise

     meet the separate eligibility requirements for participate in Unified Sports which

     are set forth in the SOI Sports Rules


At Brandon Valley, Special Olympics is available to eligible athletes eight years old to graduation from high school in the sports of bowling (fall), basketball (winter) and track and field (spring).  Athletes may compete in regional and/or state competitions in each of the sports.


          For more information on eligibility, please contact Scott Carroll, Brandon Valley Intermediate School, (605)-582-6035 or e-mail Scott.Carroll@K12.sd.us.