The sport of athletics encourages athletes of all abilities and ages to compete at their optimum level. Through the track-and-field-based athletics training program, participants can develop total fitness to compete in any sport. As with all Special Olympics sports, athletics offers athletes the opportunity to learn through skill development and competitive settings and to be involved in large social settings.


SOC Rules

IAAF Rules

By The Numbers (Worldwide)

  • In 2011, there were 1,219,020 Special Olympic Athletes worldwide that competed in Athletics competitions
  • In 2011, there were 202 Special Olympic Programs that participated in Athletics events
  • Since 2004, Athletics has grown by over 160%
  • Athletics is the #1 sport in athlete participation in 6 out of the 7 regions across the globe
  • Athletics were the primary event at the very first Olympic Games in Athens, Greece in 776 B.C.

Events for Competition

  • Special Olympics Ontario offers several different events
  • Track – 25 – 10,000 meter runs and relay events
  • Field Events – Long jump, shot-put

Divisioning at Special Olympics

Athletes in every sport and event are grouped by age, gender, and ability – giving everyone a reasonable chance to win. At Special Olympics there are no World Records because each athlete, whether in the fastest or the slowest division is valued and recognized equally. In every division, all athletes receive an award, from gold, silver, and bronze medals, to fourth through eighth place ribbons. This idea of equal ability groupings is the foundation for competition in Special Olympics and can be witnessed at all events, whether it’s athletics, aquatics, table tennis, football, skiing, or gymnastics. All athletes are given an equal chance to participate, perform, and be recognized for doing their best by their teammates, family, friends, fans.

Coaching Guide