A key feature of Special Olympics sports is the organization of participants by ability. This allows all participants an equal chance to succeed and provides for more meaningful experiences. To do this, participants must be grouped into divisions with other participants who have similar abilities. Divisions have three criteria – age, gender and ability. All divisions must be a minimum of 3 participants and maximum of 8 participants.

The ability of an athlete is paramount to divisioning. Special Olympics has a 10% guideline that athletes/teams in a division should have no more than a 10% differential in abilities. Divisioning becomes more difficult with the lesser number of athletes/teams participating.

See the age groups or read more about divisioning.

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