The Gilbert Roadrunners Special Olympics team is a Unified Sports™ team, which is an inclusive free program that combines children and adults with intellectual disabilities (athletes) and individuals without intellectual disabilities (partners) on sports teams for training and competition. Athletes and partners compete alongside one another, each in a meaningful and integral role on the Unified Sports™ team.
Special Olympics Arizona (SOAZ) has state competitions throughout the year where traditional Special Olympics and Unified Sports™ teams participate. Teams train for a minimum of 8 weeks before each competition. Local scrimmages, competitions and leagues are also established for unified teams. Most SOAZ sports (25 and growing) have a Unified Sports™ option, even individual sports! Athletes and partners can start participating at the age of eight and there are no upper age limits.
Unified Sports™ creates unique teammate bonds through sports experiences just like any other sports team. These experiences create a culture of inclusion and foster understanding in schools and communities around the state.
Participation in Unified Sports™ leads to new friendships, improved self-esteem and positive changes in attitude, behavior and performance. The program creates a lasting impact on all those participation and is a great addition to formal and life education.
We do this because our athletes show us every day how amazing they are through their hard work and dedication to overcome obstacles. They are the heart of our team.
This team is managed by volunteers. This would not be possible without the generosity of in-kind contributors, sponsors, donors, and
our partners, coaches as well as parents and families who share their time and talents.
It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference. - Tom Brokaw