What is MDO?

In 1983, seven volunteers and seven participants began the “Mini Deaf Olympics” which was later renamed The Deaf Youth Sports Festival, but we still call it MDO.


The Deaf Youth Sports Festival, Inc., – MDO is a program that serves exclusively Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH) Youth ages 5 through High School.


  • MDO is a weeklong event in which Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH) children come together from all over the U.S. to participate in Olympic-style sporting competitions.

  • The children are grouped by age/skills into teams and compete in multiple games daily, culminating in medal winners (gold, silver, bronze) for each event.

  • Events include soccer, volleyball, basketball, swimming, track and field (long jump, high jump, discus, shot-put) and bowling.

  • MDO begins with the Opening Ceremony in which each of the D/HH participants marches into the auditorium grouped by state/school.

  • Mr. and Miss MDO Olympian (crowned the previous year) open the games by carrying in the authentic Olympic torch, originally carried by Deaf founder Timothy Owens in the 1996 Olympics in Henryville, Indiana.

  • The master of ceremonies declares, "Let the Games Begin". Evening events include roller-skating and other fun activities.

  • At the Friday night banquet, the newly chosen Mr. and Miss MDO Olympian are crowned, selected from the high school participants, BY the high school coaches, high school participants, and sports committee, for exhibiting excellent sportsmanship, teamwork and character.

  • The week ends with Closing Ceremonies where the D/HH youth and volunteers enjoy highlights from the week along with bestowing the coveted Spirit Award to the team who most exhibited excellent sportsmanship, strong teamwork, and outstanding character.

  • MDO relocated from the campus of the University of Louisville to the campus of the Indiana School for the Deaf in 2013.

  • MDO relocated back to Kentucky in 2019.

© 2020 The Deaf Youth Sports Festival, Inc.

 Contact us at teammdo@gmail.com.  


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