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Special Olympics Athletes

“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”-Special Olympics Oath

Special Olympics Orange County (SOOC) benefits athletes by improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self-confidence, a more positive self-image, friendships and increased family support.  Athletes carry these benefits into their daily social interactions at home, in the classroom, on the job, and into the community.  Special Olympics aims to combine high quality sports with a wide audience, and be a driving force for social inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.

Eligibility Guidelines

Special Olympics training and competition is open to every person with an intellectual disability.  Training begins as early as 3 years of age, but Athletes must be 8 years old to compete.  A person is considered to have an intellectual disability if that person satisfies any one of the following requirements:

  • The person has been identified by an agency/ professional as having an intellectual disability as determined by their localities.
  • The person has a cognitive delay, as determined by a standardized measure such as intelligent quotient (IQ).
  • The person has a closely related developmental disability meaning the person has functional limitations in both general learning and adaptive skills such as in recreation, work, independent living, self-discretion and self-care.

Persons whose functional limitations are based solely on a physical, behavioral, or emotional disability or specific learning or sensory disability are NOT eligible to participate in Special Olympics. 

To Register with Special Olympics Orange County (SOOC)

To register with SOOC, the following forms should be printed, completed, and sent/dropped off to the Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation office, 200 Plant Road, Chapel Hill, NC  27514.  Office hours are M-F, 8:30am- 5:00pm (closed Town Holidays). A drop slot is at the front of the building for after-hours drop off.  Forms can be fax’d to 919-932-29223. 

Once the forms are received and reviewed, the SOOC Coordinator, Colleen Lanigan, will contact you for a brief interview to discover your skill set, challenges, and goals. Please note some sports may have roster limitations—first come, first served. 


SOOC YOUNG ATHLETE Registration Form (for 3- 7 year olds)




Contact for More Information

Colleen Lanigan, SOOC Coordinator, 919-968-2810.  Fax, 919-932-2923.


Address:  Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation
200 Plant Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514


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