RI Special Olympic Athletes


Athletes are the heart of Special Olympics Rhode Island. Through our programs, children and adults with intellectual disabilities enjoy a lifetime of active participation in sports, as well as an opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills, build confidence, and discover their independence.

Special Olympics Rhode Island offers more than 660 sports training and competition opportunities in 20 Olympic-type sports to over 4,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities.

To be eligible to participate, athletes must be 8 years old and older. There is no age limit.  Athletes ages 2 to 7 may participate in our Young Athletes program.  School-age children with intellectual disabilities may participate in our Special Olympics Unified Sports school program.

Please refer to our Eligibility Statement and Athlete Code of Conduct to find out more information.

All persons wishing to become a Special Olympics Rhode Island athlete must register with a local team or our state office.  For more information, please contact Louise Miller at louise@specialolympicsri.org

Getting Started:
A parent or guardian must complete the following forms:
Medical Form – this form is signed by a licensed medical examiner and is valid for three years.
Release Form – this form is also valid for three years.

All forms may be emailed to Louise Miller at louise@specialolympicsri.org or mailed to Special Olympics Rhode Island, Attn: Louise Miller, 370 George Washington Highway, Smithfield, RI 02917.

Become an Athlete

Special Olympics training and competition is open to every person with intellectual disabilities who is at least eight years of age and provides a completed Medical Form and Release Form.


Persons eligible for Special Olympics include:

  • Persons age eight and above who are considered to have intellectual disabilities* as determined by an agency, professional or school district.
  • Persons who have closely related developmental disabilities** such as those who have functional limitations, both in general learning and in adaptive skills such as recreation, work, independent living, self-direction, or self-care.

Note: people with functional limitations based solely on a physical, behavioral, emotional, specific learning disability, or sensory disability are not eligible.

  • Any person eight (8) years of age or older who is identified as having intellectual disabilities by an agency or a professional in any given local area is considered eligible for Special Olympics. Other terms that may be used synonymously with intellectual disabilities include: cognitive disabilities, or intellectual disabilities. (Persons ages six through seven are eligible for Special Olympics training.)
  • When the term “intellectual disabilities” or other similar descriptor is not used to identify the person in a local area, eligibility should be determined by whether or not the person has functional limitations in both general learning and adaptive skills. “Developmental disability” is the term most often used to describe persons with both limitations. Other terms that may be used synonymously with developmental disability are developmental handicap, developmentally delayed or severe disabilities.
Special Olympic Athletes RI

How to Participate

Request and fill out Athlete Medical Form and Release Form. This information will allow us to find a local training program for the athlete. You can e-mail Louise Miller to request the forms or download the forms here.