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Special Olympics Indiana

Last Update:9/1/2017
Contact:Tracy Mortensen
Title:Director of Support Services
Address:6200 Technology Center Drive, Suite 105
Indianapolis, IN 46278
Phone:(317) 328-2000
Toll Free:(800) 742-0612
Fax:(317) 328-2018
To provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, offering them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Program Description
Special Olympics Indiana is a nonprofit organization that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities at no cost, reaching more than 13,000 athletes throughout Indiana. With sports at the core, Special Olympics Indiana is a movement dedicated to promoting respect, acceptance, inclusion and human dignity for people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Indiana is part of the international network of Special Olympics programs that reaches over 4 million athletes with intellectual disabilities worldwide.

HISTORY The first International Special Olympics Games, organized by Eunice Kennedy Shriver and the Chicago Park District, were held at Soldier Field (Chicago) in 1968. Indiana's involvement began with those first Games.

PARTICIPATION In 2016, 12,809 children and adults in Indiana trained and competed through County Programs. To be eligible to compete in Special Olympics, an individual must be eight (8) years of age or older AND have been identified by an agency or professional as having an intellectual disability OR closely related developmental disability. For those under age eight (8), the Unified Champion Schools program is available.

OUTREACH Involving more athletes in Special Olympics is the goal of this worldwide effort. Indiana is focusing on the development of community-based programs in each Indiana county and the Unified Champion Schools and Champions Together Unified Sports programs to increase the number of athletes.

VOLUNTEERS Special Olympics Indiana is an organization that is run almost entirely by volunteers. More than 8,000 volunteers provide the help needed to offer the sports training and competition programs.

SUPPORT Special Olympics Indiana is a nonprofit organization funded through private donations and fundraising projects across the state.

SCHEDULE Special Olympics Indiana athletes train year-round to compete in a variety of local, area, state, national and world competitions. Five (5) state competitions per year highlight this seasonal schedule. Every two (2) years Special Olympics Indiana sends a well-trained team to compete in the Special Olympics World Games. These World events alternate between winter and summer sports. In addition, every four (4) years Team Indiana competes in the Special Olympics USA Games.

PROGRAMS Special Olympics provides a variety of competition opportunities for athletes of all abilities by offering official events of various degrees of difficulty and challenge. Most Special Olympics events have few differences from the sport played by individuals without disabilities.

ATHLETE LEADERSHIP allows athletes to explore opportunities for participation in roles previously considered “non-traditional.” Through athlete leadership, athletes serve on Boards of Directors or local organizing committees. Athletes excel as spokespersons, team captains, coaches and officials.

HEALTHY ATHLETES® The Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® program, made possible by the Golisano Foundation, offers health services and information to athletes in dire need. Overall, more than 1.7 million free health examinations have been conducted in more than 130 countries. In the process, Special Olympics has become the largest global public health organization dedicated to serving people with intellectual disabilities. Through the Healthy Athletes® program, Special Olympics Indiana athletes receive free screenings in a fun and welcoming environment. This often removes the anxiety and fear that individuals with ID experience when faced with a visit to the doctor or dentist. Our mission is to improve each athlete’s health and fitness, leading to enhanced sports experience and improved well-being.

CHAMPIONS TOGETHER is a collaborative partnership between the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and Special Olympics Indiana that promotes servant leadership among student athletes while changing their lives as well as the lives of those with intellectual disabilities. Program goals include: Provide opportunities for inclusive student-led servant leadership as part of the IHSAA experience Create awareness and opportunities for inclusion as it relates to all individuals with intellectual disabilities Encourage volunteerism for IHSAA student athletes through service to their schools and communities Encourage schools to provide opportunities for students to participate in Unified Sports Promote fundraising for the purpose of promoting the vision and programs of Special Olympics Indiana and Champions Together Special Olympics Inc. is supporting Champions Together as a model program to activate schools through “Unified Champion Schools” which also has the endorsement of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

UNIFIED CHAMPION SCHOOLS is a complementary program of Champions Together. Where Champions Together focuses on high schools, Unified Champion Schools focuses on programming at the pre-school, elementary, and middle school levels. The program is intended to provide proper training and competition opportunities prior to transitioning to the high school Unified Sports programs through Champions Together or Special Olympics participation through the County Program.

UNIFIED FITNESS CLUBS are locally organized fitness-focused groups that will give members a way to exercise year-round. The focus is fitness, not competition. Membership is for athletes and partners - Unified!

UNIFIED SPORTS® combines persons with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team for training and competition. Indiana is a world leader in the development of Unified Sports® programs in a variety of sports. 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 (called Unified Partners) was first introduced in the United States 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, and national Games.
There is no cost to participate in Special Olympics.
Health Services
Recreation (General)/Sports/Aquatics
Youth Involvement
Counties Serviced
Entire State
7172 Graham Road, Suite 100, Indianapolis, IN 46250 E-Mail:

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