Special Olympics athletes are children and adults with intellectual disabilities who are like other athletes – they love to train, compete and do their best, whether they win or lose. All the programs offered in Southern California provide athletes with the chance to develop physical fitness, sports skills, social skills and self-esteem.

By joining Special Olympics an athlete can meet new friends and experience great rewards in achieving the best that they can.


Traditional Program
To be eligible to participate in a traditional program, an athlete must be at least 8 years old.

All athletes in the traditional program must be identified by an agency or professional as having one of the following conditions: intellectual disability, cognitive delays as measured by formal assessment, or significant learning or vocational problems due to cognitive delay that have required specially designed instruction.

Young Athletes
To participate in an inclusive Young Athletes session, a traditional athlete and peer partner must be between the ages of 2 and 7 years old.



  • Traditional (at least 8 years old)
    Learn more about sports offered through Special Olympics
  • Young Athletes (ages 2 to 7)
    Learn more about Young Athletes



Special Olympics Southern California provides programs throughout the southernmost counties in California. Programs are managed by staff and volunteers and organized into 11 Regions: Inland Empire, Kern County, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego County, San Gabriel Valley, San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County, Santa Clarita Valley, Tri-Valley and Ventura County.


Get Started

To get more information on how to become an athlete and the opportunities available in your community, please complete the Online Athlete Interest Form. This will provide us with important information so we can help get you started.