North Carolina

Special Olympics is a global organization that serves athletes with intellectual disabilities working with hundreds of thousands of volunteers and coaches each year. Since the establishment of Special Olympics in 1968, the number of people with and without intellectual disabilities who are involved with the organization has been growing, but the unmet need to reach more people with intellectual disabilities is staggering.

The Power of Sport. For every Special Olympics athlete, there are many more waiting for their chance.  Help us reach one more person who wants to participate. Download Program Fact Sheet

It’s at the local level--right here--where interested volunteers meet the athletes. That’s where the perceptions start to change and where the miracle of transformation takes place.

Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Those activities give them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship.

Founded in 1971, Special Olympics North Carolina provides services and opportunities to more than 38,000 athletes, supported by nearly 5,000 volunteer coaches, and we host nearly 600 competitions annually.

Through sports, health, education and community programming, Special Olympics is tackling inactivity, intolerance, isolation and injustice that people with intellectual disabilities throughout the world face. In addition to sports, our programmatic offerings currently include: Athlete Leadership Programs, Healthy Athletes, Healthy Communities, Young Athletes Program, Project UNIFY, Special Olympics Unified Sports, and NC Law Enforcement Torch Run.

Sports Offered

  •  Alpine Skiing
  • Aquatics
  • Athletics
  • Basketball
  • Bocce
  • Bowling
  • Cheerleading
  • Cycling
  • Equestrian
  • Figure Skating
  • Football (Soccer)
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Motor Activity Training Program
  • Powerlifting
  • Roller Skating
  • Snowboarding
  • Softball
  • Speed Skating
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

News and Stories


February 03, 2016 | North America: North Carolina

Terrence Holmes, N.C. Athlete of the Month

By Mina Ezikpe

Terrence Holmes, 33, of Greensboro has a knack for finding things and connecting with people.View Story Terrence Holmes, 33, of Greensboro has a knack for finding things and connecting with people. The outgoing Special Olympics Guilford/Greensboro athlete used these skills to contact WGHP FOX8 news in High Point, who featured story on him and his soccer team. Terrence wrote a letter to the station, expressing his desire to share his passion for Special Olympics with the larger community. Being interviewed with his teammates and featured in this news story was one of the most memorable experiences Terrence has had as a Special Olympics athlete.

About Mina Ezikpe:I am a communications intern with Special Olympics North Carolina.
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February 02, 2016 | North America: North Carolina

"A Few of Their Favorite Things" - An Austrian Adventure

By Megan O'Donnell

Rory Kinane and Tappie Dellinger proud to represent the USA at Pre-Games 2016 in Austria Jan. 10-15.

“U-S-A, The United States of America” bellowed over the loud speaker as Special Olympics North Carolina athlete Rory Kinane and his ice skating coach Tappie Dellinger of Charlotte marched into a packed Opening Ceremonies arena in Austria Jan. 10-15 at Pre-Games 2016; a test event for the 2017 SpeciaView Story “U-S-A, The United States of America,” bellowed over the loud speaker as Special Olympics North Carolina athlete Rory Kinane and his figure skating coach Tappie Dellinger of Charlotte marched into a packed Opening Ceremonies arena in Austria in January at Pre-Games 2016, a test event for the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games. “The roar of the crowd took our breath away! I got goosebumps and still do just thinking about it,” recalled Dellinger. “There is no greater feeling than being part of the USA delegation and it is a blessing knowing that I am coaching and helping athletes fulfill their dreams. They all worked so hard and are so dedicated to their sport!”

About Megan O'Donnell:VP of Communications for Special Olympics NC and have known Tappie and Rory for a long time. So excited they had such a great time in Austria! Can't wait to see who NC will send to Austria for the World Games in 2017.
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January 21, 2016 | North America: North Carolina

My Experience at the Special Olympics North America Tennis Championships

By Steven Smith

Steven Smith at the 2015 Special Olympics North America Tennis Championships in Hilton Head.

I was really excited about the Special Olympics North America Tennis Championships because I had never been to this tournament before.View Story I was really excited about the Special Olympics North America Tennis Championships because I had never been to this tournament before and had never been to Hilton Head. My mom and I drove down to Hilton Head which was about a five hours drive. We got there the day before the tournament and checked in at the hotel. Then we went out to dinner and walked around the plaza where the restaurant was and walked across the street to the beach. When we came back from the beach we had our dessert at an ice cream shop.

About Steven Smith:I am an athlete from Wilmington North Carolina.
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2014 USA Games

The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games ran June 14-21. See results and stories.

Sep 21 - 23 2012 SONA Softball Invitational Tournament Oklahoma City, OK
Sep 11 - 17 2012 World Aquatics Invitational 2012 San Juan, Puerto Rico
Jun 25 - Jul 4 2011 2011 Summer Games Athens, Greece

Areas Served

Alamance County, Alexander County, Alleghany County, Anson County, Ashe County, Avery County, Beaufort County, Bertie County, Bladen County, Brunswick County, Buncombe County, Burke County, Cabarrus County, Caldwell County, Camden County, Carteret County, Caswell County, Catawba County, Chatham County, Cherokee County, Chowan County, Clay County, Cleveland County, Columbus County, Craven County, Cumberland County, Currituck County, Dare County, Davidson County, Davie County, Duplin County, Durham County, Edgecombe County, Forsyth County, Franklin County, Gaston County, Gates County, Graham County, Granville County, Greene County, Guilford County, Halifax County, Harnett County, Haywood County, Henderson County, Hertford County, Hoke County, Hyde County, Iredell County, Jackson County, Johnston County, Jones County, Lee County, Lenoir County, Lincoln County, Macon County, Madison County, Martin County, McDowell County, Mecklenburg County, Mitchell County, Montgomery County, Moore County, Nash County, New Hanover County, Northampton County, Onslow County, Orange County, Pamlico County, Pasquotank County, Pender County, Perquimans County, Person County, Pitt County, Polk County, Randolph County, Richmond County, Robeson County, Rockingham County, Rowan County, Rutherford County, Sampson County, Scotland County, Stanly County, Stokes County, Surry County, Swain County, Transylvania County, Tyrrell County, Union County, Vance County, Wake County, Warren County, Washington County, Watauga County, Wayne County, Wilkes County, Wilson County, Yadkin County, Yancey County

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