Be an Athlete

Who can join?

Special Olympics NWT is open to all athletes who have an intellectual/developmental disability.

In order to participate in the local sports programs, athletes must be able to take part within a ratio of one volunteer to every three or four athletes, depending on the sport.  If the athlete requires a greater level of supervision and support to fully participate and to ensure the safety of themselves and others, special arrangements must be made ahead of time with the Sports Program Coordinator.  If Special Olympics NWT is unable to provide enough coaches/volunteers to offer one to one supervision for an athlete who cannot participate within the ratio, the athlete is required to bring a support person with them to all practices, local competitions and events.

Special Olympics prides itself on providing programs for each skill level. Athletes are grouped (divisioned) based on their abilities, so they are competing at similar skill levels. We ensure that people of all levels and abilities have a chance to play and compete.

Definition of a Special Olympics athlete

Must have an intellectual disability; a cognitive delay, or a development disability, that is, functional limitations in both general learning and adaptive skills.  Intellectual Disability refers to substantial limitations in present functioning. It is characterized by significantly sub-average intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with related limitations in two or more of the following applicable adaptive skill areas including communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure and work.

What are the requirements?

Participants identified with an intellectual disability must be 12 years or older and agree to observe and abide by the Special Olympics Canada Sports Rules. Active participation is mandatory. For our two youth programs, athletes must be between ages 2 and 11.

What sports are offered?

In Yellowknife, athletes train and compete in swimming, bowling, figure skating, speed skating, rhythmic gymnastics, snowshoeing,  athletics and golf.

Programs depend on qualified volunteers. Please contact us to find out which sports are available in your region.

How much does it cost to participate in Special Olympics?

All Special Olympics programs are free to eligible athletes, thanks to the generous support of individuals and businesses that believe in Special Olympics athletes.

Families and support people may be asked to cover some nominal expenses, such as swimwear or shoes.

As well, families and support people are responsible for transporting athletes to and from their training sessions.

Do athletes have to compete or can they simply take part in the training?

Athletes are not required to compete. However, most find it is a great opportunity to learn about themselves. Having an event to plan for also provides a great focus for teaching them about working toward a goal and not giving up.

What is the schedule?

Special Olympics NWT programs are typically held weekly from September through May, with more training before competitions. golf is a summer sport, in July.

Are Special Olympics coaches prepared?

Special Olympics NWT provides its volunteer coaches with training and support in working with athletes with an intellectual disability, as well as the theory and practice of their sport, plus first aid.

Family & Community Support

As family members and support people, you are the most important people in an athlete’s life. You know the athlete best and provide guidance in all aspects of their lives. You can play an important role in Special Olympics programs as well.

You can participate in training, accompany athletes to events, coach them, answer their questions and listen to their stories.

One of the greatest roles you can play is to encourage and applaud their efforts whenever possible.

This website is designed to provide some basic information on getting your loved one involved in Special Olympics. Once you do, you’ll find it’s about much more than sports. It’s a program that will give them practical, day-to-day skills that will last a lifetime.