Sports Essentials

Sport Rules

The heart of Special Olympics is competitions, the races, matches, tournaments and games for people with intellectual disabilities. In many ways, these competitions are like sports run by any other organization, but there are some key differences.
Man jumping over the highbar.

SPECIAL OLYMPICS RULES ARE ADAPTED

Our rules are adapted to accommodate the wide range of skills and abilities of our athletes, all of whom have intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics sports competitions operate in accordance with rules established by the International Federations (“IF’s”) or National Governing Bodies (“NGB's”) of each sport. The Official Special Olympics Sports Rules are intended to modify, where necessary, IF or NGB rules. In cases where IF or NGB rules are in conflict with the Official Special Olympics Sports Rules, the Official Special Olympics Sports Rules shall apply. Each Accredited Program or Games Organizing Committee is required to state the governing body rules that will serve as the reference point for each sport offered. At Special Olympics Regional and World Games, the International Federation rules shall be used.

SPORT RULES ARTICLE 1

The Official Special Olympics Sports Rules provide standards for Special Olympics training and competition. Article I provides general principles not found in the sport-specific rules and is essential knowledge for all people involved with Special Olympics sports. See Sport Rules Article 1

GENERAL RULES

The Mission Statement, Goal and Founding Principles of Special Olympics are outlined in this Article.
General Rules

SPORT RULES AND RULE CHANGES

Rules and Rule Changes for All Sports The official Special Olympics Sport Rules govern all Special Olympics competitions. Special Olympics has developed these rules based upon International Federation and Governing Body Rules for each sport. Please refer to Sport Rules Article 1 for information pertaining to Codes.

Rules

The official Special Olympics Sport Rules govern all Special Olympics competitions. Special Olympics has developed these rules based upon International Federation and Governing Body Rules for each sport. Please refer to Sport Rules Article 1 for information pertaining to Codes of Conduct, Training Standards, Medical and Safety Requirements, Divisioning, Awards, Criteria for Advancement to Higher Levels of Competition, and Unified Sports®.
Sport Rules and Rules Change Summaries

SPORT RULES FORMS