- Published on 27 February 2015
Special Olympics Gymnastics combines strength, flexibility and artistry. Competitions are offered for men in the artistic events and women in artistic and rhythmic events. Male and female gymnasts may compete in all events offered (All Around) or may be specialists, competing in one or two maximum.
Special Olympics athletes also can participate in Special Olympics Unified Sports® events. Unified Sports is a program that combines Special Olympics athletes and athletes without intellectual disabilities (partners) on sports teams for training and competition.
In Unified Sports gymnastics, all rules and regulations apply equally to athletes and partners, who compete in the same compulsory and optional routines. They are judged individually, then the scores are added together for each event for a combined total score for that event. Unified Sports teams may be specialists or all-arounders; awards are based on the combined scores of the athletes and partners.
As in all Special Olympics sports, athletes are grouped in competition divisions according to ability level, age and gender.
Special Olympics Gymnastics was first included in 1972 as an official sport in the Third International Special Olympics World Summer Games, when 11 athletes competed in tumbling and free exercise routines.
At the beginning of 1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games in North Carolina, 280 athletes from 43 Special Olympics Programs competed in gymnastics.
At the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Dublin, Ireland, 177 artistic gymnasts and 53 rhythmic gymnasts from 51 Programs competed.
Today there are1296 athletes in SOMENA competing in gymnastics.
Mixed Gender Events (Level A only; local & regional /national competition only)
Unified Sports: Vaulting, Wide Beam, Floor Exercise, Tumbling, All Around
Men's Events (Level A,B,C,D)
All Around (combination of all six event scores)
Unified Sports: Floor Exercise, Pommel Horse, Rings, Vaulting, Parallel Bars, Horizontal Bar, All Around
All Around (combination of all four event scores)
Rhythmic Gymnastics (Level I and up for females only):
Rhythmic Floor Exercise
Unified Sports: Rhythmic Floor Exercise, Hoop, Ball, Ribbon, All Around
Group Routines (Female only, may be done in addition to individual routines)
Floor Exercise (beginner, 4-6 gymnasts)
Ribbon (intermediate, 4 gymnasts)
Unified Sports Group (beginner, 4-6 gymnasts)
Unified Sports Group Ribbon (intermediate, 4 gymnasts)
The following events provide meaningful competition for athletes with lower ability levels:
Rhythmic Gymnastistics Individual Compulsory routines, performed while sitting (mixed gender): Rope, Hoop, Ball, Ribbon, All Around
Above listed routines, performed while standing.