RI Special Olympic Athletes

Become an Athlete!

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. Sports Offered

Getting Started:
A parent or guardian must complete the following forms and/or assist an adult athlete completing the form as needed:
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.


Age 2 – 7: Young Athletes
Welcome to Play! Children with and without intellectual disabilities are welcome to engage in activities and games at their individual ability level and learn basic sport skills in a fun and inclusive environment. 

Age 8 – 15: Unified Juniors
Introduction to Team Sports! These community-based teams are based out of local YMCA branches and teach sports through Skill-Based Competitions rather than gameplay. 

Middle School & High School Age: Unified Champion Schools Athletics
Choose to Include! Athletes enrolled in a participating School are eligible to participate. Middle School grades 6-8 compete in Unified Cross Country and Basketball. High School grades compete in Unified Volleyball and Basketball – recognized as Varsity Sports by the RI Interscholastic League. 

Age 18 – 29: SO College
College Intramurals! Athletes are assigned to play unified sports at a college near them and compete side by side with students that attend these schools. 

Age 8 & Up: Community-Based Programming
Game on! Athletes train and compete in any of the 23 sport seasons offered. Certain sports do have restrictions based on waiting lists, safety guidelines, and Unified Sports requirements.

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

How Families can get involved:

  • Families can:
    • Become spokespersons, volunteers, coaches, fundraisers and officials – giving them an important voice in Special Olympics Rhode Island.
    • Be an essential link to the community and wider support for our movement.
    • Volunteer at events
    • Share links and information about Special Olympics Rhode Island
    • Serve in leadership roles

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