In Special Olympics, the power and joy of sport shifts focus to what our athletes CAN do, not what they can’t. As their lives open up, our athletes gain the confidence that comes with achievement. They feel empowered. They are ready to take on new leadership challenges to make use of their new abilities. They can become mentors for other athletes. They can train to become coaches and officials. They can also move toward a more public role as a speaker or spokesperson. They can speak to audiences about the positive changes that Special Olympics helped bring about in their lives. At the end, though, we remain true to our mission: Have Fun. We are proud to be the South Region Stars.
Special Olympics Minnesota believes the health and safety of its athletes is paramount. Beyond a sports organization, Special Olympics is a movement for and by people with intellectual disabilities (ID), and its guidance must be inclusive and directed at the unique needs and abilities of people with ID. Based on current medical information, we are in phase green (low risk), which minimizes the use of COVID protocols. Still, let's keep in mind that individuals with intellectual disabilities are at a higher risk of complications from COVID-19. Remember to social distance and please don't come to practice if you are you are sick or have any symptoms of Covid.
Participants who are found to have COVID-19 symptoms must wait 7 days after symptoms resolve to return to activity OR must provide written proof of physician clearance to Special Olympics to return earlier. And, participants who at any time have tested positive for/have COVID-19 must notify Special Olympics Minnesota AND provide written medical clearance before returning to sport and fitness activities.
Meet the Team
We are a team of Special Olympics Minnesota, offering those with intellectual disabilities sports training and competition opportunities. Our athletes discover new strengths, skills and success. We know no boundaries.
Check Us Out
Through practice and competitions, our athletes achieve joy and acceptance. We do so by upholding our number one rule – HAVE FUN! And we have plenty of opportunities to do so – fall, winter, spring and summer.
We practice in northern Dakota County (but welcome all). Pick your sports and get going: We offer team and individual sports: Alpine Skiing, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Flag Football, Floor Hockey, Softball, Swimming, and Track and Field.
The South Region Stars welcomes any athlete who fulfills the requirements set by Special Olympics of Minnesota (SOMN) and abides by its code of conduct. To be eligible, individuals must be eight years of age or older and have an intellectual disability (see eligibility link ).
Athletes must have a completed application on file with Special Olympics of Minnesota before they can participate in any Special Olympics training activities or competitions. Please note that some portions of these forms must be completed and signed by a licensed medical practitioner.
The application is valid for 3 years from the date of the physical examination OR prior to any relevant deadline. What is a relevant deadline? A relevant deadline is the date by which the team needs the updated application and medical form actually turned into Special Olympics Minnesota so that coaches can register the athletes for participation.
Failure of the athlete to have an accurate, fully completed Medical Form on file with Special Olympics Minnesota prior to any relevant deadline will result in the athlete being denied participation in competitions, programs and events. To make sure this doesn't happen to you, we strongly suggest that all athletes update their Medical Form annually during their annual physicals.
Applications are scrutinized for any missing information and signatures; we encourage to you to watch the Application Process Walkthrough (see link).
THE OLYMPIC OATH
LET ME WIN
BUT IF I CANNOT WIN
LET ME BE BRAVE IN THE ATTEMPT
The link above will take you to the Athlete Application located on the SOMN website. There you will find more detailed information, as well as a new page: a Waiver and Liability for Communicable Diseases agreement that must be signed by the athlete and guardian (for those who are still a minor or not their own guardian.) It's important to compete the form correctly; otherwise the application will not be accepted. Here are a few of the biggest issues we see.
- Not signed where signatures are required
- Check-boxes not filled in properly - follow given directions.
- Medical forms that are not official.
- In the past, some athletes included a sports or government form rather than SOMN's.This is NO longer acceptable.
- The only form SOMN will accept is the one included with the application. Examiners may rely on the some of the information from a recent physical but there are still questions that pertain specifically to Special Olympics.
- The doctor must check whether the athlete has an intellectual or other developmental disability and describe it on the form. (More information is included on the form.
- Medical is not signed. Remember the examiner must sign the application and provide the clinic's information.
- One question frequently asked is what to do when an insurance company will not cover the examination until a stated time. In this case, the examiner may use the information one year earlier. However, the form must also be dated that year as well. as this is what governs when a new application is due. It is not the athlete's birthday or the date the was submitted -- it is the date of the previous physical.
Application Expiration Dates
To see whether you or your athlete needs to update his application, click HERE to be taken to password protected page. If you have not received the password information, write to email@example.com with your name, the name of the athlete, and your relationship to the athlete. This list is as of 4-2-22. Here are some explanations to help you make sense of the list.
- The Medical Form provides the application expiration date. It is valid for 3 years from the date of the examination OR prior to any relevant deadline.
- A relevant deadline is the date by which the team needs the updated application and medical form actually turned into Special Olympics Minnesota, allowing the coach to register the athlete for participation.
- In other words, if an athlete plans to participate in a seasonal sport during which time the application will expire, the application needs to be updated at a minimum by the first practice or earlier if needed by the coach.
- For a returning athlete, the application consists of pages one and two of the application, both completed in their entirety and signed and dated in the relevant locations.
It bears worth repeating: A deadline to participate in a particular sport is the date by which the team needs the updated application and medical form turned into Special Olympics Minnesota, allowing the coach to register the athlete for participation. This is usually a week before but no later than the first practice.
When athletes reach the age of 18, the third page of the application must be resigned, this time noting the legal guardian - the athlete or another appointed person.
The COVID Waiver is an online presentation that must be reviewed by athletes, coaches, and volunteers. It is electronically signed to verify that this has been completed. If the COVID line is blank, this has not been done, yet.
Through sports, our athletes celebrate their abilities, not their disabilities. Special Olympics Minnesota believes that people with intellectual disabilities can, with proper instruction and encouragement, learn, enjoy and benefit from participation in individual and team sports. Necessary adaptation ensures we meet the needs of those with intellectual and physical disabilities. All sports have components or events designed to accommodate all ability levels. When competing, athletes are in divisions based on age and ability.
Special Olympics Minnesota offers alpine skiing events from novice to advanced levels, as well as the glide event for lower ability level athletes to train and compete in basic alpine skiing skills. The development of these basic skills are necessary prior to advancing to other competitive events. Alpine Sports will be back in November or December of 2022. See you then!
Flag football is offered as a Unified Sport, which means individuals with and without disabilities play on the same team. Practice begins in the fall. See you then!
Track and Field
Unified Flag Football
- We're sorry we can't offer more information about our seasons. The health and safety of our athletes, coaches, volunteers and entire community are our top priority.
- Athletes who are just beginning, require one-on-one assistance or may have behavioral issues must be accompanied by a responsible person who can assist as necessary.
- Team Play: Only players who plan to participate at area and state will be assigned to a team. This allows teams to practice together, an essential component of play.
- If we don’t have enough volunteers to help coach and assist with a sport, we may need to ask for help. Otherwise, not everyone will be able to participate. Please say yes!
Our athletes are eligible to also participate in the many opportunities offered by Special Olympics Minnesota.
The Leaders University gives athletes the chance to become a leader both within and outside of Special Olympics. Typically held in a University setting, participants are able choose from several courses such as “Athletes as Coaches,” “Civic Engagement,” and "Global Messenger."
Healthy Athletes events provide a variety of services conducted by healthcare professionals and students in a welcoming, fun environment. Offered during state competitions, athletes may find themselves in a dentist’s chair, looking at eye charts, having their hearing screened or being fitted for new shoes and glasses.
SOfit is a health promotion program aimed at improving and protecting health and wellness for people with and without intellectual disabilities. Fit5 is a program that’s easy to integrate into ones' busy schedule or a team’s practice schedule.
We’re proud of our team, both for skill and sportsmanship. Each year we recognize our athletes and volunteers with awards reflecting our respect and appreciation.
2019 Spirit Awards (names to come)
John Sullivan Award: to those whose actions demonstrate the true meaning of Good Sport.
Kathy Wells Award: to those who exemplify if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.
Hank Halvorson Award: to families and individuals who exemplify the spirit of Hank by assisting with fundraising efforts extraordinaire.
Hank Goers Award: to the families, parents, or staff who demonstrate extraordinary kindness by being there for any athlete or any effort requiring assistance.
Our volunteers are all ages, and their commitments can range from an afternoon to years of coaching. In fact, our team would not exist today without the time, energy, commitment, and enthusiasm of our volunteers - family members, teachers, and those who simply want to change others’ lives and their own.
- Behind the Scene volunteers ensure athletes’ applications are current; plan fundraisers and social events, update the website and email communications, and time and measure athletes.
- Coaches work with Special Olympics athletes to prepare them for competition and teach them the necessary skills to compete at their highest levels. Most of our team have two or more coaches.
- A rapidly expanding program of Special Olympics is Unified Sports® -- and for good reason. Unified Sports combine athletes with and without disabilities on teams that train and compete together, promoting friendship, understanding, and inclusiveness.
Any person who has regular contact with our athletes is required to complete a Level I training process before working with them: complete a volunteer application, permit a background check and review an online presentation that covers a general orientation, protective behaviors, and concussions.
Each team also requires at least one Level II coach (or more) who is trained to coach that particular sport. Review of an additional online presentation geared to coaching the sport is also required.
To view by a particular sport, simply use the category dropdown feature below.