The fundamental difference between Special Olympics competitions and those of other sports organizations is that athletes of all ability levels are encouraged to participate, and every athlete is recognized for his/her performance. Competitions are structured so that athletes compete with other athletes of similar ability in equitable divisions.

Special Olympics had three main categories of sport and each category has their own process for divisioning. These categories include:

  • Individual Sports
  • Team Sports
  • Judged Sport

 For specific sport  information regarding divisioning please refer to the specific sport page of the Sports Page.The bellow video gives a general idea about what is divisioning and how it is performed. However, Ontario and other chapters do not necessary follow the same numbers that used for divisioning in the video. Instead each chapter could use different numbers. For more information please visit each sport page to learn about divisioning rules of the specific sport.


You can search Competition Divisioning resources here:

  • Definition of Divisioning
    Definition of Divisioning   Special Olympics competitions provide athletes with the opportunity to demonstrate sport skills they have acquired during training. Special Olympics athletes, like all dedicated athletes, strive for their best performance at each competition. The fundamental difference which sets Special Olympics competitions apart from those of other sports organizations is that athletes of all ability levels are encouraged to participate and every athlete is recognized for his or her performance.
  • Divisioning Team Sports
    Divisioning Team Sports   One of the most important aspects of a successful tournament is the placement of teams in appropriate ability levels. Within most conferences there is an “unofficial” hierarchy of teams that has developed over the years. This is usually called level A, B, C, D.
  • Maximum Performance Rule
    Maximum Performance Rule   The Maximum Performance Rule can be found in it’s entirety in policy 7000-208.   Individual Sports   Divisioning heats (preliminary rounds) are conducted to ensure that athletes compete against athletes of like ability levels in final rounds of competition. To ensure that athletes compete at the best of their ability during the divisioning round, the maximum performance rule (MPR) is implemented at Major Games.
  • Divisioning Committee Form
    Competition,Sports and Programs