Athlete Eligibility Questions
Polar Plunge Questions
Special Olympics and Paralympics are two separate organizations recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). They are similar in that they both focus on sports for athletes with a disability and are run by international non-profit organizations. But they are different in their participants, philosophies, and structure.
Participants: In Special Olympics, athletes must have an intellectual disability where the Paralympics welcomes athletes from six main disability categories: amputee, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, visually impaired, spinal injuries and other conditions.
Philosophy: While Paralympics athletes endure a stringent qualification process so that the highest qualified based on performance can compete at the Games, Special Olympics does not exclude athletes based upon qualifying scores, but rather divisions athletes so they can compete against others at the same ability level.
Structure: Special Olympics headquarters is located in Washington DC, has area offices in 170 countries and has 30 sports while Paralympics is run by the International Paralympic Committee and is comprised of representatives from 165 member nations around the world.
Whether you are looking for a way to coach a sport or help raise funds, becoming a Special Olympics Wisconsin volunteer is a great way to have fun and give back to your community. For more information about signing up, contact your local Special Olympics Wisconsin office.
Anyone who has been identified as having a intellectual disability by an agency or professional and is age eight or older is eligible to train and compete as a Special Olympics Athlete. Read more about athlete eligibility.
If your son or daughter is under eight years old, introduce them to the world of sports during the Special Olympics Wisconsin Young Athletes Program, an innovative sports play program designed to meet the physical and developmental needs of children ages 2-7. Learn more about the Young Athlete Program.
Special Olympics serves athletes in more than 180 communities across the state! Contact one of our seven area offices and they can connect you with a representative from your area.
Special Olympics Wisconsin exists in nearly 200 communities across the state, but if you’re looking for more local coverage, why not start an agency? In just a few easy steps, we’ll have you on your way to empowering local athletes! Learn more about how to start a Special Olympics agency.
The Official Special Olympics Release Form and Application for Participation in Special Olympics form (also referred to as an athlete’s "medical") are needed to participate in Special Olympics. They provide for a photo release, necessary medical information, secondary insurance coverage by Special Olympics, Inc., and emergency medical treatment in the event a parent or guardian cannot be reached. Forms are located at the bottom of our "Become an Athlete" page. Other forms may be required for individual competitions. For more information, contact your area office.
No. Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes receive new, specially designed medals or ribbons as competition awards. We do not accept donated trophies.
Yes. When you make your donation online, you will see a confirmation page and receive an email confirmation, either one of which may be used as an official receipt (sometimes you may have to check your Junk folder to retrieve the receipt). If you mail in your contribution using the donation form, we will send you a gift acknowledgement which you can expect within 5-10 business days from the date the gift was received. If you have questions about your confirmation letter, please contact Faye Borchert at email@example.com.
How can I be sure you are using my support wisely? How much of my donation goes to support program activities?
Special Olympics Wisconsin strives to operate as efficiently as possible. A significant portion of our revenue comes from a broad base of individual donors, $10 and $20 dollars at a time. Every contribution at any size makes an important difference. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, more people with intellectual disabilities have a chance to participate and experience the transformative powers of sports. Approximately 70 percent of our expenditures go to supporting program activities – including supporting local training and competition, developing education materials for our volunteer coaches, outreach to recruit more athletes, family support, and much more. Maintaining these high standards is a priority at Special Olympics Wisconsin. Check out our financial report for details.
Yes, donating in someone’s name is a meaningful way to celebrate a friend or remember a loved one. Visit this site and check the "Tribute and Memorial Giving" checkbox at the bottom of the online form. Special Olympics will mail an embossed card to the honoree or their family letting them know that you made a donation to honor them. Cards are processed each business day but please allow 1-2 weeks for your honoree’s card to arrive in the mail. Donate in honor or memory of someone.
You can double or triple your support of Special Olympics athletes through your company's matching gift program. Find out if your company will match your donation to Special Olympics Wisconsin, allowing your contribution to increase opportunity for exponentially more athletes with intellectual disabilities than you could imagine. You can also visit your personnel office to ask if they match charitable donations, obtain a matching gift form, fill it out completely and mail it to our office. Use our matching gift company search form.
Please contact Faye Borchert, Database Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know about any changes to your information and preferences on how we communicate with you. In order for us to locate your record and expedite the changes you have requested, please be sure to provide complete information such as the name, address and phone number we would have on file. Though we process the changes you request right away, please note that due to our production schedule it may take up to 6-8 weeks for your request to take effect in the mail.
I received a call about a magazine subscription from DialAmerica. Does this benefit Special Olympics Wisconsin?
You can help Special Olympics Wisconsin by ordering or renewing your favorite magazines through our partner, DialAmerica. You’ll get BIG discounts and DialAmerica will contribute 12.5% of your paid subscription to Special Olympics Wisconsin. It’s easy and costs you nothing. Learn more.
Any questions about your order should be directed Dial America at (800) 913-3331.