Sports Competitions

Every day here, and around the world, Special Olympics athletes train and strive to achieve their very best at Games and competitions. We come together to see our athletes in action and celebrate their victories over huge odds. For the athletes and their families, the experience opens doors to unimagined possibilities. For volunteers, coaches and other supporters the Games inspire hope and belief in a brighter future of acceptance, understanding and unity.

Special Olympics Sports Competitions

Special Olympics DC conducts 3 multi-sport championships annually. Each championship begins with athletes carrying the torch in joyful Opening Ceremonies. Traditions embodied in the Olympic movement are demonstrated over several days of competition, followed by award ceremonies where athletes are receive the gold, silver and bronze medals for their performance. Competitions are conducted in adherence with official rules and high standards, and serve as qualifiers for national and world level competition.

Summer Games

Summer Games is our ‘state’ wide competition with more than 1,000 Special Olympics Athletes and hundreds of volunteers over five days of events in track and field, soccer, volleyball and bocce. It is held in May of each year at Catholic University.

Fall Classic

Fall Classic follows 8-10 weeks of training and features competitions in golf, bocce, tennis, and basketball in November. Athletes demonstrate their golf skills and course play at Langston Golf Course. Bocce is played at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, and tennis and basketball at Catholic University.

Winter Games

Winter Games begins our year in February with training then competitions in bowling, speed skating, and Unified basketball. Athletes learn speed skating at Fort Dupont Ice Arena, bowling at AMF Capitol Plaza, and basketball at various locations in the city.

Based on their scores and performance, athletes can qualify to compete in the USA and World Games, held every two years in locations around the world. Special Olympics DC athletes participated in these recent USA and World Games:


2023 – World Summer Games: Berlin, Germany

2022 – USA Games: Orlando, Florida

2019 – World Summer Games: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

2018 – USA Games: Seattle, Washington

2017 – World Winter Games: Graz, Austria

2015 – World Summer Games: Los Angeles, California

2013 – World Winter Games: PyeongChang, South Korea