Become a SO Athlete!



Taking part in Special Olympics Calgary creates opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to build new friendships and participate in physical activity – all in their local community. It gives them the chance to learn new skills and discover their potential by becoming an athlete with Special Olympics.

As an athlete, you have the opportunity to train and compete in a sport on a weekly basis within your community, at a level appropriate for you. Special Olympics Calgary is focused on providing a fun, engaging, positive and healthy environment for all participants.


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. The 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. If an individual has a coexisting intellectual and physical disability, they are eligible to participate with Special Olympics, but if they do not have an intellectual disability, then they are ineligble to participate within Special Olympics.

How much athletic skill or experience is needed?

Athletes of all ability levels are encouraged to participate in Special Olympics programs. Through the process we use called divisioning, programs and 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. 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. All our specific sport programs do have a minimum age requirement of eight years of age. 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.  For full sport rules, please view the Sports and Programs Resource Page.

For more information on registering an athlete, please contact our office 403-735-1022 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Click here to view our program listing and information on the sports that we offer