Sioux Falls Fireworks

Special Olympics

Unified Sports®

What is Unified

Special Olympics Unified Sports® is an initiative that combines approximately equal numbers of Special Olympics athletes and athletes without intellectual disabilities (called Partners) on sports teams for training and competition. Age and ability matching of athletes and Partners is defined on a sport-by-sport basis.

Throughout the year, in a variety of sports ranging from basketball to golf to figure skating, Unified Sports athletes improve their physical fitness, sharpen their skills, challenge the competition and have fun, too.


The concept of combining athletes with intellectual disabilities and those without was first introduced in the mid-1980s to provide another level of challenge for higher ability athletes and to promote equality and inclusion. Today, the initiative includes virtually all Special Olympics sports, and Unified Sports competitions are an important part of Special Olympics World Games, as well as local, state/provincial and National Games.


Unified Sports enables Special Olympics athletes to:

  • learn new sports
  • develop higher-level sports skills
  • have new competition experiences
  • experience meaningful inclusion (each athlete is ensured of playing a valued role on the team)
  • socialize with peers and form friendships (the initiative provides a forum for positive social interaction between teammates and often leads to long-lasting friendships), and participate in their communities and have choices outside of Special Olympics.

What Unified events does the sioux falls fireworks participate in throughout the year?

  • Bowling (Sep to Nov)
  • Basketball (Jan to Mar)
  • Softball (Jul to Sep)

 *Unified Bowling Athletes may not use ramps.

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