News

Sioux City Unified Pair Wins Midwest Regional Special Olympics Unified Golf Tournament

Sudden death playoff ends with Sioux City Unified pair winning first-ever Regional Special Olympics Unified Golf Tournament at Wedgewood Cove Golf Club in Albert Lea, Minnesota on July 14.

Jesse Pease, Sioux City Knight’s athlete, and brother, Jason Pease went into the final hole of play having led the whole tournament.  During the play of the final hole, the Pease brothers found themselves trailing for the first time.  The pair was able to save par putting them into a sudden death match against a Minnesota pair.  The match ended with the Pease brothers making par and winning the match, and ultimately the tournament.

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Keith Pease, father of Jesse and Jason, shared, “This was truly an outstanding event; we found it rewarding to witness the respect athletes had for each other’s abilities and accomplishments.”

The two day Special Olympics Unified match play tournament featured more than 10 Unified pairs from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin.  A Unified pair combines individuals with and without intellectual disabilities to compete on the same team allowing both the athlete and partner to grow on and off the competition field.  Unified sports promote inclusion and friendship for all.

 

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First Ever Special Olympics Iowa Youth Summit Brought Together Students From Across Iowa

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This past week Special Olympics Iowa held the first annual Youth Summit which brought together students from across the state to discuss inclusion and develop action plans that they can take back to their local communities.  The summit had 65 attendees ranging from 7th graders to juniors in high school.  The schools that sent students to the summit were East High School, Goodrell Middle School, Hoover High School, IKM-Manning Schools, North Scott Junior High, Robert Blue Middle School, Roosevelt High School, Spencer High School, Urbandale High School, Wayne Community High School and Harlan Community Schools.

The event tackled the topics of motivating and empowering others, accountability, leadership and Unified sports.  Participants also participated in a Hy-Vee KidsFit workshop and capped the day off with a pool party.

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“It was wonderful seeing so many youth leaders come together to share ideas and stories about the Unified Generation and to learn more about how the simple concept of inclusion can change the culture of an entire school,” shared Bryan Coffey, Special Olympics Iowa Director of Unified Programs.

All participants were students at Unified Champions Schools, schools that bring together students with and without intellectual disabilities through education, sports and youth leadership to provide them with the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to create and sustain school communities that promote acceptance and respect.

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Casey’s General Stores Holds Special Olympics Promotion During the Month of June

64486916_10156028329886046_3417392008686206976_nWe have teamed up with Casey’s General Store and Coca-Cola for the month of June!  When you stop by your local Casey’s store during the month of June, you will be able to “round up” for Special Olympics Iowa. This means that you will have the opportunity to round up your total as a donation to Special Olympics Iowa. 10 cents will also be donated when individuals buy a pizza slice and a 20 oz. Coca-Cola drink for $4.

 

Casey’s General Store and Coca-Cola have been longtime supporters of Special Olympics Iowa and the Inclusion Revolution. Their generosity and support helps us to provide sports training and athletic competition to over 16,000 Special Olympics Iowa athletes and Unified partners.

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Iowa Unified Basketball Team Competes in NIRSA Championships

By: Lexxi O’Brien

The University of Iowa took a Unified team to the NIRSA basketball championships in Wichita, Kansas. The team went face-to-face with competitors across the nation including Louisville, Eastern Washington University and Oregon. Iowa ended up 1-2 at the end of the tournament. The University of Iowa was one of 12 teams in the nation to be selected to participate in the Unified Division.

The team practiced for the duration of 6 weeks, during and following the University’s regular Unified basketball intramural season. To prepare for the tournament, The University of Iowa played an exhibition game against St. Ambrose University’s Unified intramural championship team! Unified intramurals at Iowa started with flag football in 2017 and has since progressed to add volleyball and basketball. Ongoing support from the recreational services department and our Unified partners makes this program at Iowa thrive.IMG_5857 edited

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2018 Tailgate for Teammates

Join us on October 6th for our Annual Tailgate for Teammates fundraiser.

Nothing brings fans together like a good old-fashioned tailgate! Tailgate for Teammates will offer a sense of camaraderie, inclusion and pride among athletes and their supporters. Guests will indulge in upscale tailgate cuisine, take part in fun and festive sports-themed activities, bid for prizes in an auction, and cheer for athletes competing in upcoming Special Olympics Iowa events.

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Date: Saturday, October 6, 2018
Location: West Des Moines Sheraton
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Tickets: Click here to purchase tickets

SAVE THE DATE! (pdf)

Auction Donation Form

For more information on sponsoring the event or to purchase tickets, contact:
Stuart Steffy, Individual Giving Officer
515-986-5520

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USA Games: Team Iowa to earn 27 Gold, 20 Silver, and 8 Bronze

The Fourth Annual USA Games took place On July 1-6, 2018 in Seattle. More than 4,000 Special Olympics athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, all in search of a gold. Team Iowa was among those and included: 10 Coaches, 29 Athletes, 4 Unified Partners, and 3 Athlete Leadership Experience members.

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There were 14 Olympic-type sports offered at the USA Games. Out of those 14, Team Iowa competed in: athletics (track and field), flag football, powerlifting, swimming, tennis, unified bocce, and unified bowling.

Overall, Team Iowa had a final medal count of 27 gold, 20 silver, and 8 bronze. Among those medals included powerlifter Mitchell Betsworth (pictured above), who earned 3 Golds and 1 Silver. Mitchell says he, “loved competing and meeting all the athletes from around the country. It was great to make a lot of new friends not only from Iowa, but nationwide.” Mitchell’s father, Troy, who is also his coach made the trip to Seattle as well. “What I remember most about coaching Mitchell and Brad Small were the nerves. I was so nervous that I got down on one knee and thoguht I was giving Mitchell my last words of encouragement, and realized I was firing up a lifter from New Hampshire instead of my son!” “The coaches are constantly cheering for all of the lifters to do their best, so it was fitting” Betsworth commented.

Making Team Iowa proud, Athlete Brandon Baier with the Griswold Tigers as the only athlete at the USA Games to qualify for both the High Performance 100 M Dash and the High Performance Shot put. While in Seattle, two Team Iowa members received recognition for being in the Top 10 in their category of the Steps Challenge (offered by the National office). There were 2,580 indviduals registered in the Challenge. Congrats to Brandon Baier, with the Griswold Tigers, for placing seventh. Another congrats to Ron Schmidt with Sioux City West Middle School for making the Unified Sports partner Top 10.

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Iowa Coach Receives Inspiring Coach of the Year Award from Brooks Running

By Stephanie Kocer

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SOIA coach Nicole Vetter accepts her Inspiring Coach of the Year award from Brooks Running)

As Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA) athletes prepare to head to Seattle for the 2018 USA Games July 1-6 at the University of Washington campus, coach Nicole Vetter of Council Bluffs is just returning from Seattle, where she was honored by Brooks Running with the Inspiring Coach of the Year award.

Vetter has been a teacher and coach for 22 years in Council Bluffs. She started her career as a special education teacher before transitioning into teaching physical education and coaching the Thomas Jefferson High School track team. Now she feels like she gets the best of both worlds. “I love getting to know that population of students,” says Vetter. “I get to help both Special Olympic athletes and high school students, which is the best of both worlds.”

In honor of the 2018 USA Games, Brooks Running, which is headquartered in Seattle, selected two track & field coaches from across the nation and awarded them with the Inspiring Coach of the Year award. The winner receives a trophy, a $10,000 grant for Brooks performance running gear, and $2,500 to their team’s athletic department for team expenses.

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SOIA Awards Unified Champion Schools Participants

Haley Goldsberry

Special Olympics Iowa recognized individuals who embraced the Unified model during the 2017-2018 school year at a Unified banquet held in May. As part of our school based program Unified Champion Schools, Hayley Goldsberry of the Iowa Connections Academy and Tyler Hungate of Linn-Marr High School were both selected as scholarships recipients for the work they have done to help develop a more Unified environment  in their schools and community. Tyler Hungate

Special Olympics Iowa also recognized the Des Moines Public Schools for adopting the Unified Champion Schools model with a district-wide approach.

Becky Curry & Liz Grier

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50th Anniversary Celebration in Chicago 17-21

Celebrating 50 Years of Unity and Empowerment

The spark that became today’s Special Olympics movement ignited at the first 1968 International Summer Games in Chicago, Il., USA.

Five decades later, Special Olympics is returning to Chicago to launch the year-long global Special Olympics 50th Anniversary celebrations this July.

Join us as we play together, learn from each other, and chart an inspiring course for the future!

Special Olympics International, Special Olympics Illinois and Special Children’s Charities in Chicago are uniting to host nearly a week of exciting events to celebrate the first 50 years of Special Olympics and to launch the movement into the future.

SO_50_withdate-01Events planned for July 2018 in Chicago include the first-ever Special Olympics Unified Cup. Special Olympics Iowa cheerleaders will be cheering at the Unified Cup.

Also planned is a star-studded Global Day of Inclusion, where the public can “Play Unified” and join in fun athletic competition with Special Olympics athletes. There will also be a Law Enforcement Torch Run Commemorative Run and the ceremonial lighting of the Special Olympics Eternal Flame of Hope, which will symbolize our burning passion for inclusion and justice for people with intellectual disabilities.

All Iowa athletes are invited to attend the 50th Anniversary events in Chicago July 17-21. More information about the events throughout the celebration can be found here.

50th Anniversary Schedule of Events

Special Olympics Unified Cup presented by Toyota
17 to 20 July 2018
Chicago, Illinois, USA

The inaugural Special Olympics Unified Cup competition will team people with and without intellectual disabilities from all over the world. A total of 24 international football/soccer teams will take part. The four-day event is presented by Toyota.

Learn more | Events schedule | FREE Tickets

Torch Run and Eternal Flame of Hope
20 July 2018
Chicago, Illinois, USA

The Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Law Enforcement Torch Run Commemorative Run will include Special Olympics athletes and law enforcement officers. The entire city will light up with a new eternal “Flame of Hope”—symbolizing a world of welcome and inclusion.

Join us | Events schedule |
Get Your Name On The Flame

Global Day of Inclusion
21 July 2018
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Soldier Field, the birthplace of Special Olympics, will host a massive celebration, a festival of inclusion that will serve as the spark for people around the world to commit to making their cities more inclusive. This family friendly festival will offer sports activities, interactive games, exhibits, delicious food offerings, and live entertainment.

Events schedule

Music Concert – LIVE!
21 July 2018
Chicago, Illinois, USA and around the world

Then comes a star-studded evening of inspiring entertainment at Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island—and a live audience around the world.

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Team Iowa to Compete at USA Games in Seattle July 1-6

On July 1-6, 2018 – more than 4,000 Special Olympics athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will gather in Seattle to compete before tens of thousands of spectators and volunteers. The 2018 USA Games will showcase the limitless talents of people with intellectual disabilities while promoting the barrier-breaking power of sport to promote inclusion and acceptance. static1.squarespace

Among those 4,000 athletes and coaches will be Team Iowa.

The USA Games kick off with the spectacle of the Opening Ceremony at Husky Stadium on July 1, 2018 and will offer 14 Olympic-type sports: athletics (track and field), basketball, bocce, bowling, flag football, golf, gymnastics, powerlifting, soccer, softball, stand up paddle boarding, swimming, tennis and volleyball.

Competitions will be held at venues across the Seattle area including the University of Washington, Celebration Park, Kenmore Lanes, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle University, Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center and Willows Run Golf Club.

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