About the 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Invitational Youth Games

The 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Invitational Youth Games will play host to over 2,500 student-athletes and coaches from May 14-17th within the City of Toronto. Athletes aged 13-21 both with and without an intellectual disability will compete in basketball, bocce, floor hockey, soccer, or track & field. Participating teams will include athletes from Ontario, Canada, the United States, and various International countries.

All sports will offer two types of team divisions. A traditional division, where all athletes on the team have an intellectual disability, and a Unified division, where athletes with and without an intellectual disability will have the opportunity to compete on the same team. Unified Sport provides a unique and fantastic opportunity for students with an intellectual disability to compete alongside their mainstream peers. All athletes are of similar ability level in their sport and therefore are able to contribute equally as a team. Furthermore, all sports will be broken down into multiple ability divisions, where athletes will have the opportunity to compete against only those of similar ability levels, ensuring fair and safe competition for all.

Building off of the successful School Championships program offered in Ontario since the 2011/2012 school year, the Youth Games will act as a great opportunity for Ontario to invite the rest of the world to Toronto to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics and showcase the power age appropriate and Unified competition opportunities for our youth athletes!

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is the world's largest organization dedicated to providing developmental, recreational and competitive sport programming for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The Special Olympics movement now comprises over 172 countries, facilitating year-round opportunities that empower 4.5 million youth and adult athletes worldwide at local, regional and national levels.

Special Olympics has continued to extend its reach beyond recreation and athletics; programs such as Healthy Athletes and Athlete Leadership have been introduced to vitalize the health and personal growth of its athletes. Special Olympics is now the largest public health organization dedicated to people with intellectual disabilities, and its athletes are 5 times more likely to work than adults with an intellectual disability not enrolled in their programs.

Currently, Special Olympics continues to grow as it hosts events that cover a variety of levels. These include grassroots programs, school-based competition, regional games, national games, and world games, as well as community-based fundraising and awareness events. Special Olympics currently has representation in North America, Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe.