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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.

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


September 28, 2016 | North America: North Carolina

Athletes get on board with trying something new

By Katie McGhee

Special Olympics North Carolina athletes are getting on board the stand-up paddle boarding trend.View Story Stand-up paddle boarding has taken the nation by storm in recent years. Not only does it offer fitness benefits, such as improved core strength and balance, it also is relaxing and peaceful. And now Special Olympics North Carolina athletes are getting on board the new trend. Charyl Clark, Special Olympics Guilford/Greensboro local coordinator helped to spearhead the introduction of standup paddle boarding as a locally popular sport. At the 2016 SONC Leadership Conference, Clark and a few of her fellow local coordinators began talking in earnest about paddle boarding for Special Olympics athletes. While everyone agreed that it would be a great opportunity for the athletes, no one was really sure how to make it happen. Read more at the link below.

About Katie McGhee:Manager of Communications and Social Media for Special Olympics North Carolina.
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September 23, 2016 | North America: North Carolina

Thanks, Karisa Eliason!

By Angela Ciccolo

On my way home after Law Enforcement Torch Run Conference in Phoenix, AZ, I had the opportunity to hear about a great volunteer.View Story On my way home to Washington, D.C. from the Law Enforcement Torch Run Conference in Phoenix, AZ, I had the opportunity to sit next to Jon Eliason on the Chicago to D.C. leg of the trip. Jon saw the Special Olympics logo on my computer and told me about his wife Karisa who has volunteered for Special Olympics since she was in the 6th grade! Karisa is all about sports-- especially Special Olympics sports in Lane County, North Carolina. I just want to thank Karisa and the other volunteers who work so hard to make every Special Olympics practice and competition fun, safe and memorable.  Thanks Karisa. I'm grateful that you're part of the Special Olympics movement.

About Angela Ciccolo:I am Special Olympics' chief legal officer.
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September 23, 2016 | North America: North Carolina

Row-raiser benefits Special Olympics Catawba County

By Katie McGhee

What do CrossFit and Special Olympics have in common? Both believe in community and inclusivity.View Story What do CrossFit and Special Olympics have in common? Besides their focus on athletic training and competition, both CrossFit and Special Olympics North Carolina believe in community and inclusivity. Those shared traits were seen when CrossFit Catawba Valley and Special Olympics Catawba County came together for an event on August 28. Read more

About Katie McGhee:Manager of communications and social media for Special Olympics 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