Sports FAQ

Below, find FAQs related to the sports offerings at Special Olympics Montana. If you have additional questions or would like to see a FAQ added to this page, send the information to the contact at the bottom of the page.

Does Special Olympics Montana offer year-round programming?

YES! Special Olympics Montana offers many programming opportunities throughout the year, from athletics events to athlete leadership opportunities to MedFests, geared towards offering physicals for qualifying athletes. To see all Special Olympics Montana has to offer, browse the website and follow our Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube pages.

Are athletes, partners, and team volunteers/coaches required to have current paperwork on file with Special Olympics Montana?

To keep things simple, yes. Every registered participant with Special Olympics Montana is required to have current paperwork on file with the State Office. This helps ensure a quality and safe experience. For more information on what paperwork is required, click on this link. For certified coaches, there is additional paperwork needed, just click on this link to view that additional paperwork.

I’m a Local Program Coordinator. How do I fill out the roster and registration forms for games?

Good news! SOMT has instructional videos available to explain the process! Just click on the following links to view the videos.
State Summer Games State BasketballState Bowling Championships

Are there resources that can provide guidance for year-round health and fitness?

Yes. There are guides that can be utilized for both practice seasons and year-round health and fitness. These guides are broken-up by sport and include– practice plan examples, warm-ups, stretching, cool-downs, and health and fitness plans. Those guides can be found at this link.

How do I volunteer for a Special Olympics Montana event?

There are a couple different ways to volunteer for Special Olympics Montana! To see current day-of volunteer openings for a State-level event, follow this link. If you’re interested in having a larger role for a State-level event, call the State Office at 406-216-5327, and ask to speak to the Sports Department. If you’re interested in volunteering for an Area-level event, or as a team volunteer or coach, follow this link.

Which communities host State-level competitions?

Currently, State Summer Games rotates between four communities, every three years. Those communities are Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, and Missoula.

Currently, State Basketball is set to rotate between two communities, every three years. Those communities are Butte and Helena.

Currently, the Bowling Championships are hosted in four communities, every year. Those communities are Bigfork, Billings (two alleys), Butte, and Havre.

What competitive sports are offered by Special Olympics Montana?

Currently, Special Olympics Montana offers 18 different Olympic-type sports. Visit the OUR SPORTS page to view those sports. It is available at this link.

What are Unified Sports?

Unified Sports bring together teammates with and without intellectual disabilities, and give them the opportunity to experience the joy of sport through competing on the same team. For more information, follow this link.

How are competitors divided up for competition?

For competition, competitors are placed into divisions, based on their ability-level in a given sport or event, their age, and their gender. Depending on the sport and event, the three divisioning-tools (ability, age, gender) may have a higher or lesser importance placed upon them. For example, in a primarily skill-based sport, like bocce ball, ability-level is not as critical as it would be in a primarily physical-based sport, like swimming.  This method of placing athletes in competition divisions provides competitors the opportunity to experience quality competition alongside their peers.

What are the perks of becoming a certified coach?

In addition to smaller perks, such as a certificate of completion, having the opportunity to meet and discuss sports with other certified coaches at trainings, etc., there are two main perks to being a certified coach in a sport. 1) Certified coaches receive the privilege to protest at a games if the situation calls for it. Uncertified coaches’ protests are automatically denied. 2) Certified coaches are trained and gain knowledge in the specifics of Special Olympics Montana rules and details, which helps ensure competitor success, as they have the best chance of being prepared for competition. For example, becoming certified and taking online recertification courses keeps a coach up to date with all sports changes, rule changes, what SOMT is looking for at competitions, etc. 3) Certified coaches have the opportunity to apply for selection to coach at a USA or World Games.

What is the Max Effort Rule?

The Max Effort Rule ensures fair competition and adequate practice for competitors. When teams submit registrations for a State-level games, they include qualifying scores. After the State-level competition is completed, those qualifying scores are compared against the scores competitors recorded at the competition. If the percentage difference exceeds the set limit for that sport, competitors are subject to consequences, including warnings, loss of ability to qualify for advancement, and suspension from a State-level game for the following year. If you’re an LPC and would like an updated copy of the Max Effort Rule, email SOMT Sports Director, Scott Held.

Who decides which sports Team Montana from Special Olympics Montana can compete in at USA or World Games?

Special Olympics North America or Special Olympics USA determines the sports that will be offered at a USA or World Games. Each program/state is assigned certain sports, and a certain number of slots in those sports, based on their interest level. It also depends on the number of slots available and number of programs interested in those particular sports. Larger programs tend to get a larger number of slots than smaller programs, but they try to get programs at least some slots.

How do competitors qualify for USA or World Games?

Athletes and/or unified partners must win a gold medal at the state level to become eligible for USA Games or World Games qualification. Athletes and/or unified partners who are gold medal winners in the assigned sports/events (from Special Olympics North America) will have their names compiled and drawn randomly. We choose an appropriate number of athletes and/or unified partners and begin conducting interviews. If the first athlete declines, we move on to the next one drawn and so on, until an athlete and/or unified partner is identified. SOMT determines the final selection for USA Games. Athletes and/or unified partners that are identified for World Games must attend training camp prior to the World Games competition and be formally selected by the SO USA coaches. SOMT is responsible for making the initial selection only for World Games. Through all these processes, if a gold medal winner is not selected for one reason or another, the process will begin one selection at a time with silver medalists.


Sports Director, Bill Polk at 406-315-4211 or