Mixed teams provide the public direct opportunities to experience first-hand the capabilities and courage of Special Olympics athletes, helping raise awareness and overcoming prejudices about intellectual (learning) disabilities.
At the same time, Unified Sports enables Special Olympics athletes and partner athletes - without intellectual (learning) disabilities - improve their physical fitness, sharpen their skills, and have fun together.
Launched in GB in February 2012 the Unified Sport programme is supported by Coca-Cola Great Britain and will see a series of coaching and competition sessions covering a variety of team sports, delivered through sport centres, clubs and communities all over the country.
The initiative focuses on training and competition opportunities in team sports offered within Special Olympics GB. This include: Basketball, Sailing, Badminton, Table Tennis, Tennis - in their doubles events, as well as the already established Unified Football programme.
The growth of the Unified Sports programme in 2012 forms part of the long-term partnership between Coca-Cola Great Britain and Special Olympics GB, which aims to make a range of sports more accessible for people with intellectual (learning) disabilities, empowering them and their families to take an active and more confident role in their communities.
Special Olympics GB launched the Unified Football® in 2008 as part of a Europe-wide initiative to promote Unified Sports and thanks to the support of the Vodafone Foundation and Fitflop.
Unified Football follows the rules of regular football, except that half the team is made up of people with an intellectual (learning) disability and the other half is made up of people without an intellectual (learning) disability.
In Great Britain there are currently over 30 teams across GB and over 560 participants in a programme sponsored by Special Olympics Premier Partner National Grid with the support of Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and MK Dons Sport & Education Trust.
Fans of Unified Football range from Harry Redknapp to Peter Crouch and Jermaine Defoe to Special Olympics GB Ambassador Chris Kamara.
For more information about Unified Football, please download our Football Development Strategy
For more imore details about the Unified Football Project in partnership with National Grid and the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, please download the two-year report.
John Amaechi launches unified sports® initiative
GB present at Special Olympics European Unified Sports® Conference in Malta
Manchester United Foundation and the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation Unite in support of Special Olympics football
Spurs striker Jermain Defoe at Special Olympics Unified Football event
Chris Kamara at National Unified Football Competition