Sioux Falls Fireworks

Special Olympics

Sports Participation

Sioux Falls Fireworks Sporting Opportunities

Today, more than 1600 people participate in Special Olympics South Dakota’s year-round athletic programs.  Any individual eight years of age or older with intellectual disabilities is eligible to participate in Special Olympics.

Special Olympics South Dakota contributes to the physical, social and psychological development of people with intellectual disabilities.  Through successful experiences in sports, athletes gain confidence and build a positive self-image associated with success. This success carries over into the classroom, the home and community.


Official Sports:

Basketball (Jan-Mar)

Basketball Skills
Team Basketball
Unified Basketball

Spring/Summer Games (Mar-May) 

Aquatics (Assisted Pool Events)
Swimming (Unassisted Swim Events)
Athletics (Softball/Tennis Ball Throw. Shot Put, Running/Standing Long Jump. High Jump, Track)
Race Walk
Soccer (Team Soccer and Soccer Skills)
Powerlifting (athletes must be 16 years of age or older)

Fall Classic (Aug-Sep)
Bocce Ball (Unified Doubles or Athlete Doubles)
Softball (Team Softball, Unified Softball, Coach Pitch and Individual Softball Skills)

Bowling (Oct-Nov)
Traditional Bowling
Unified Bowling

Each sport practices once per week for an hour and a half.  Most practices are held on weeknights 6:30-8 p.m.

The Games (Tournaments):
A key feature of Special Olympics South Dakota is a series of athletic competitions patterned after the World Olympics. Held year-round, they are:

  • Area Basketball - February in Yankton
  • State Basketball– March in Pierre or Mitchell
  • Area Spring Games – May in Sioux Falls (Aquatics-Swimming) and Sioux Falls (Athletics)
  • State Summer Games – Location varies
  • Area Softball- August in Sioux Falls
  • Fall Classic (Bocce Ball and Softball) – Mitchell or Rapid City
  • Area Traditional Bowling – October in Sioux Falls
  • Area Unified Bowling- October in Mitchell
  • State Traditional Bowling – November in Aberdeen
  • State Unified Bowling - November in Sioux Falls
In addition to the athletic competition, each of the games include all of the pageantry and excitement of Olympic Games, with events such as Opening Ceremonies, Lighting the Special Olympics Flame of Hope, Victory Dances, Banquets, and Award Ceremonies.

World Games are held every two years on odd years with Winter Games and Summer Games alternating. Competitors from the United States participate as part of Team USA.

National Games are scheduled every four years on even numbered years.  

Special Olympics is unique in that it accommodates competitors at all ability levels by assigning them to competition divisions based on previous performances or preliminary heats. In this way, all athletes get a chance to compete against others of equal ability.
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