Become an Athlete

Special Olympics Nova welcomes athletes year-round. For more information on sport programs offered in your community visit Our Regions to see the contacts in your community or contact Matt Quinn, Director of Sports & Programs at or (902) 429-2266 x2 and we will work to assist you and your potential athlete on the steps to get involved with the program in your community.

Athlete Eligibility

Who Can Join?

Special Olympics Nova Scotia offers 16 sports for athletes to practice and compete in; many of them lifetime sports that allow athletes to participate at any age. Participants are eligible to join our Youth Programs in selected areas across the province from age 2-12 and regular sport programs from aged 12 onward.

What is the Criteria?

Athletes who wish to participate in Special Olympics programs must have an intellectual disability.  Intellectual disability (or ID) is a term used when a person has certain limitations in cognitive functioning and skills, including communication, social and self-care skills. These limitations can cause a child to develop and learn more slowly or differently than a typically developing child.  Intellectual disability can happen any time before a child turns 18 years old, even before birth.  Intellectual disability is the most common developmental disability.

Intellectual disability is also defined as “referring to sub-average intellectual functioning”, existing concurrently with related limitations in two or more of the following applicable adaptive skill areas:

  • Communication
  • Self-care
  • Home living
  • Social skills
  • Community use
  • Self-direction
  • Health & safety
  • Functional academics
  • Leisure
  • Work

Participants may also have other associated disabilities along with an intellectual disability.

Participants may enter our Special Olympics programs at the age of 2 yrs old.

Active & physical participation while attending a Special Olympics Nova Scotia programs is a requisite for participation..

Swim program eligibility

Athletes wishing to participate in swim programs must be able to swim a minimum of 25M (participation in all swim clubs is based upon assessment by the Head Coach). Special Olympics Nova Scotia recommends all individuals who cannot swim learn through their local recreation program.

How do I register to become an athlete?

It’s easy! For more information please visit the regional link that corresponds to where you live. You should then contact the respective community committee member or the provincial office of Special Olympics for more information.

Every athlete is requested to complete the following upon registration:

Once these forms have been completed, please forward them to the Regional Coordinator or Registrar in your area. He or she will then forward your information directly to the Provincial Office or Contact Us for more info.