Who We Serve

Special Olympics athletes are athletes with an intellectual disability (ID).  ID is a term used to describe a person with certain limitations in cognitive functioning and other skills, including communication and self-care. These limitations can cause a child to develop and learn more slowly or differently. Intellectual disability is the most common developmental disability

Intellectual disabilities happen in all cultures, races and countries. The goal of Special Olympics is to reach out to the 200 million people in the world with ID.  More than 4.4 million Special Olympics athletes – ages 8-years-old and up — come from more than 170 countries. We also have a Young Athletes program for children ages 2 to 7.  At any age and in every country, our athletes are learning new skills, making new friends and gaining in fitness and confidence.

There are more than 2000 Special Olympics  Alaska athletes statewide.


Special Olympics training and competition is open to every person with an intellectual disability who is at least eight years-of-age and registers to participate in Special Olympics as required by these General Rules.

  1. Age Requirements.   There is no maximum age limitation for participation in Special Olympics. The minimum age requirement for participation in Special Olympics competition is eight years-of-age.
  2. Degree of Disability.  Participation in Special Olympics training and competition is open to all persons with ID who meet the age requirements regardless of the level or degree of that person’s disability, and whether or not that person also has other mental or physical disabilities, so long as that person registers to participate in Special Olympics.
  3. Identifying Persons with ID. A person is considered to have an ID for purposes of determining his or her eligibility to participate in Special Olympics if that person satisfies any one of the following requirements:
  • The person has been identified by an agency or professional as having an intellectual disability as determined by their localities; or
  • The person has a cognitive delay, as determined by standardized measures such as intelligent quotient or “IQ” testing or other measures which are generally accepted within the professional community in that Accredited Program’s nation as being a reliable measurement of the existence of a cognitive delay; or
  • The person has a closely related developmental disability. A “closely related developmental disability” means having functional limitations in both general learning (such as IQ) and in adaptive skills (such as in recreation, work, independent living, self-direction or self-care). However, persons whose functional limitations are based solely on a physical, behavioral or emotional

For more information contact:

  • Sarah Arts
  • VP/COO
  • 3200 Mountain View Dr.
  • Anchorage, AK  99501
  • sarah@specialolympicsalaska.org
  • 1-888-499-7625 (toll free in Alaska)
  • 1-907-222-7625 (ext 601)
  • 1-907-222-6200 (fax)