- Published on 27 February 2015
Bowling is one of the fastest growing Special Olympics sports. Although there are some modifications made for athletes with physical disabilities, most athletes compete under the same rules and circumstances as athletes on a professional tour.
In addition to offering traditional singles and doubles events, Special Olympics offers events for athletes with low ability levels to train and compete in basic bowling skills. The development of these key skills is necessary prior to advancing to match play.
Special Olympics athletes also can participate in Special Olympics Unified Sports® bowling doubles and team 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 bowling competition, a doubles team would consist of one Special Olympics athlete and one partner; a team would consist of two Special Olympics athletes and two partners. Bowlers can be assigned to bowl in any order.
As in all Special Olympics sports, athletes are grouped in competition divisions according to ability level, age and gender.
Bowling was introduced as a Special Olympics sport in 1975. Bowling debuted at the World Games level in 1987, when 33 athletes competed in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
The 1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games in North Carolina, USA, hosted 333 bowlers from 31 Special Olympics Programs.
269 Special Olympics bowlers from 40 Programs competed in bowling in 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Dublin, Ireland.
Today 586 Special Olympics athletes from MENA Programs compete in bowling.
Ramp Unassisted and Assisted Bowl
Doubles (male, female, mixed)
Team Bowling (male, female, mixed)
Special Olympics Unified Sports Doubles (male, female, mixed)
Special Olympics Unified Sports Team (male, female, mixed)
The following events provide meaningful competition for athletes with lower ability levels.