Athletics (Track & Field)

Game On: Learn about the divisioning process that differentiates Special Olympics from other sport organizations.

SONC offers competition in 26 different athletics events, ranging in distances from 10 meters to 1,500 meters, as well as multiple field events. This range of events allows athletes of all ability levels the opportunity to train and compete successfully to the best of their abilities.

Developmental Events
click link to see diagram of event layout
10m/25m Assisted Walk
Tennis Ball Throw (same as the softball throw)
10m/25m Wheelchair Races
30m Wheelchair Slalom
25m Wheelchair Obstacle
30m/50m Motorized Wheelchair Slalom

Lead-Up Events
click link to see diagram of event layout
25m/50m Dash
25m/50m Race Walk
100m/200m Wheelchair Races
Wheelchair Shot Put
Standing Long Jump
Softball Throw

Traditional Events
click link to see diagram of event layout
100m/200m/400m Dash
100m/400m Race Walk
800m/1500m Run
Running Long Jump
Shot Put
Mini-Javelin (similar set up for softball and tennis ball throw)
4 x 100 Relay

Click here to find your coach certification status.

The makers of the Turbojav have a kit available for purchase that includes six Turbojavs, 1 training DVD, and a carrying bag for $180 (plus shipping). A great deal for programs just starting to introduce this event to athletes! Please contact Leigh Petranoff with Throwing Zone Athletics.

  • State you are with Special Olympics North Carolina and your County
  • Number of kits you would like to order
  • Number of 300 gram (females & males age 15 and under)/400 gram (males age 16 and older)

Local programs are responsible for the cost of these kits.

Always communicate with your local coordinator if you are interested in submitting registration for an event.

Summer Games/Invitational Registration Forms

Athletics Individual Registration Form
Athletics Relay Registration Form

Athletics Improved Performance Form (will be posted after registration is due for Summer Games) – must submit by May 21, 2020. Only submit this form if the time for an event is faster than the one submitted for registration. The decision to change a division for an athlete will be decided by the competition management team, and/or SONC staff.

Local program coordinators should submit entries along with the remainder of the Summer Games registration.  Click here for a full list of Summer Games registration forms. These forms will be available closer to the event date.

SONC Summer Games will be held May 29-31, 2020 in Raleigh.

The Penn Relays 

The Penn Relays is the longest uninterrupted collegiate track meet in the country will be held April 23-25, 2020 at the University of Pennsylvania. There are two events in which a limited number of Special Olympics athletes are allowed to compete – the 100 meter dash and the 4×100 relay.


Athletes and partners also have the opportunity and are encouraged to participate in various local invitationals. Check the athletics/track and field sport calendar for upcoming invitationals being hosted by local programs.

Local programs are also encouraged to host and invite neighboring counties to participate in invitationals, scrimmages, or leagues.  Click here for some basic steps on how to get started.  If you are interested in hosting an invitational you can also contact the sports department at

About Athletics (Track & Field): Athletics (Track & Field) is not only the first sport introduced to Special Olympics North Carolina, it also the most popular sport with nearly 1000 athletes training each year.  The sport of athletics encourages athletes of all abilities and ages to compete at their optimum level. Through the track-and-field-based athletics training program, participants can develop total fitness to compete in any sport. As with all Special Olympics sports, athletics offers athletes the opportunity to learn through skill development and competitive settings and to be involved in large social settings. 

Differences of Special Olympics Athletics (Track & Field):  A major difference of Special Olympics athletics is that all athletes go to a final. Special Olympics also requires that all athletes give their best effort at all times. An athlete at Special Olympics can adjust their qualifying time to obtain a better grouping in the future running heat. Additionally, Special Olympics athletics modifies the heights in the high jump, conduct 10, 25, and 50 meter runs, walks and wheelchair events.  

History: Athletics was introduced as the first sport to Special Olympics North Carolina in 1970. 

By the Numbers:   

  • In 1991, Special Olympics North Carolina sent twelve athletes and three coaches to the International Summer Special Olympics Games in Minneapolis, MN. 
  • In order to accommodate a large number of athletes in this sport, the Athletics Developmnet Team started offering training schools for the 1991-1992 program year. 
  • 1992 marked the year Special Olympics North Carolina sent a 4×100 Meter relay team from Nash County to the Athleta Gibson Relays in Kingston, Jamaica.  This team not only attended but won first place bringing home a gold medal. 

Sport Development Teams (SDT) are responsible for assisting with local and state level programs and competition, educating coaches and officials, and promoting active engagement among athletes throughout the year.  Click here for more information.

Rick Gemereth

Certified Clinicians receive additional training in presentational skills to conduct training schools in their community.  In order to become a Certified Clinician one must have a Special Olympics North Carolina level 2 sport certification in this sport.

For more information on becoming an SDT member or a Certified Clinician, contact

Find out if this sport is offered in your community

Become an athlete or Unified partner

Special Olympics North Carolina offers sports training and competition in 19 Olympic-type sports to children and adults with intellectual disabilities.  Learn more on how to become an athlete.

Become a Unified partner and play on a team alongside athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Become a Coach

Combine knowledge and passion for a sport by becoming a Special Olympics North Carolina coach to lead athletes in preparing for local and state-level competition.

Become a Volunteer

Serve a crucial role at Special Olympics North Carolina by volunteering at our office or one of our many events throughout the year. Check out our home page for these volunteer opportunities.

Share Your Sport Knowledge

Officiate for Special Olympics North Carolina by donating your time as a sports official.  Contact for more information.

Sport Development Team members (SDT) are active volunteers who channel their passion and knowledge for a sport into effective leadership for local and state programs.  

Certified clinicians supplement the SDT by providing coaches training in their community.  Click here for trainers.

For more information on getting involved, contact