Special Olympics North Carolina (SONC) offers sports training and competition in 19 Olympic-type sports to nearly 40,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities. Athletes train for a minimum of eight weeks with an average 1-2 practices per week. Sports competition is available for eligible athletes 8 years old and older, and there is no age limit.
One of the main differences that sets Special Olympics apart from other sport organizations is divisioning. View this Divisioning video created by Special Olympics Inc.
An athlete’s age group is determined by the athlete’s age on the opening date of the Games or competition. The age of the oldest athlete on a team is used to determine the age group in which that team will compete. Depending on the type of competition (individual or team) and the sport, age groups may differ.
Maximum Effort Rule (formerly known as the Honest Effort Rule): Athletes are also expected to give maximum effort when competing. This is the only way the divisioning process can work as it was intended. Athletes who do not participate honestly and with maximum effort in all preliminary trials and/or finals violate the true spirit of competition and may even be disqualified from competition. SONC will use the maximum effort rule for state-level competition in aquatics (swimming) and athletics (track and field).
Upcoming State-Level Event
The 2017 Special Olympics North Carolina Winter Games will take place January 8 and 9 at Appalachian Ski Mountain. Athletes will compete in Alpine skiing and snowboarding.
Local programs across the state are offering competition opportunities through invitationals in various sports. Check out the SONC calendar to see a full listing!
2018 Special Olympics USA Games
Every four years, Special Olympics holds a national competition for Special Olympics athletes from across the United States. The next USA Games will take place in 2018 in Seattle, Washington.
2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games
Alternating between Summer and Winter Games, the Special Olympics World Games occur every two years and feature intense athletic competition and inspiring performances from talented Special Olympics athletes from across the globe. The next World Winter Games will be in 2017 in Austria.