Who Can Become a Special Olympics Athlete?

Programs are open to individuals with an intellectual disability and are designed to increase fitness levels, develop individual and/or team skills and to promote sportsmanship and fair play. No person shall, on the grounds of gender, race, religion, ability level, or financial constraint be excluded from participation. Overall, inclusion is preferred to exclusion when eligibility is in question.

What about physical disabilities?

The primary focus of Special Olympics Canada is to enrich the lives of individuals with an intellectual disability through sport. Focus on intellectual disability is what differentiates Special Olympics from the Paralympics, which serves individuals with physical disabilities. The International Olympic Committee recognizes Special Olympics and Paralympics as two separate and distinct sport organizations that meet the needs of two separate communities of athletes.

How much athletic skill or experience is needed?

Athletes of all ability levels are encouraged to participate in Special Olympics programs. Through the use of equitable divisioning, competitions are structured so that athletes compete with other athletes of similar abilities.

Is there a minimum age to participate?

Each Special Olympics program has specific age guidelines, depending on the type of activity. Community based programs offer athletes the programs necessary to develop important skills required in sport and everyday life. You can start as early as two years of age, but you are never 'too old' to start!

Active Start and FUNdamentals are innovative play programs for children with intellectual disabilities that focus on physical literacy and basic motor skills development. Active Start and FUNdamentals are open to children between the ages of two and 12.

Special Olympics community programs, on the other hand, are for all athletes 10 years of age and older. Most programs have athletes of all ages. This must be kept in mind when joining team sports. Our competitive athlete programs start locally, and can grow to international competition depending on athlete wishes and development.

Are there any other restrictions?

Participants must agree to the sport rules of Special Olympics Canada and sign various waivers as part of the enrollment process.

Athlete Registering Yourself

***Athletes can only register themselves if they are their own legal guardians. If you are an athlete but not your own legal guardian, please complete registration with someone else.

  1. In a new tab, open the following link: https://portal.specialolympics.ca/registration
  2. Fill in the appropriate fields and select 'Register - Validate Member'. If you have previously been with Special Olympics. An email will be sent to you advising you of your validation number. Insert it in the appropriate spot and proceed with your enrollment. This keeps all your records together.
  3. Complete the portal registration. Once this is completed you will be able to access your file on the portal to enroll in future years and update items such as your address.
  4. Confirm if you are your own Legal Guardian.
  5. Press 'Next Step- Waivers'.
  6. You must accept the first three waivers fields to move forward. If you are not comfortable accepting these waivers, contact the SOM office at som@specialolympics.mb.ca. The next three fields, including the 'Media Release Waiver' are up to you. When finished, press 'Next Step - Program Search'
  7. Use the Chapter and Sport boxes and the 'Search' button to see what programs are available in your community. Select a program using the checkbox on the left side of the page, and when finished press 'Next Step- Member Profile'. *Please note that you can only add one program at a time.
  8. Fill in as many fields as you can, and when finished press 'Next Step- Address'. Please note that you will not be able to continue if you leave any fields marked with a red asterisk blank.
  9. Fill in address information. If you split time between two addresses, you can use the 'Secondary Address' section. When finished, press 'Next Step- Criminal Record'.
  10. Criminal Record Checks are not mandatory for athletes in Manitoba. Press 'Next Step- Medical Information'
  11. Fill in Medical Information. When finished, press 'Next Step- Emergency Contacts'.
    Remember that, here in Manitoba, we have two medical numbers. Please include both with a space between them.
  12. Use the 'Add' button to input emergency contact information. You must have at least one emergency contact. When finished, press 'Next Step-Member Training.
  13. Use the 'Add' button to input any training courses, such as leadership or CPR, that you have taken. When finished, press 'Next Step- Participant Profile'.
  14. Fill in Participant Profile information. When finished, press 'Next Step- Enrollment Details'.
  15. Review the enrollment details, then press 'Next Step- Payment Information'.
    If you do not have a credit card or must pay in cash, mail cheques to Special Olympics in your region (addresses can be found under 'Regions' on our web site) and cash can be paid at your regional registration event or at the SOM office at 304-145 Pacific Ave, Winnipeg. If you have any questions, contact your Regional Registration Coordinator or SOM at som@specialolympics.mb.ca
  16. Press 'Submit Enrollment'.
  17. If you want to enroll in more clubs, click on 'New Enrollment' and enroll for the second club and so forth.
  18. If the club you belong to does more than one sport (for example the EK Rascals), you will have to enroll for each sports the club does (EK Rascals - Snowshoe; EK Rascals - Track)