Articles in Athletes

UNI & LSB Partner for UNI Men’s Basketball Games

Special Olympics Iowa Statewide Partner Lincoln Savings Bank, along with Learfield Sports and the University of Northern Iowa, have partnered together this winter to present an Athlete of the Game at each of UNI’s home Men’s Basketball games.

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Athletes will be selected prior to the games and will be given the opportunity to be announced during the second half of the games. Athletes will also receive four complimentary tickets to the game and a shirt.

Lincoln Savings Bank was looking for a way to help showcase SOIA athletes. “Lincoln Savings Bank is a proud supporter of Special Olympics as well as Panther Sports Properties,” says Lincoln Savings Bank Regional Marketing Coordinator Ashley Ungs. “The opportunity came to fruition for recognition at men’s home basketball games. LSB preferred to highlight the men and women of Special Olympics and their accomplishments versus our own employees.”

As a Statewide Partner, Lincoln Savings Bank works with SOIA athletes year-round and volunteer for events like the West Des Moines and Cedar Falls/Waterloo Polar Plunges. They also volunteer at SOIA’s Summer Games every May. “Our corporate sponsorship with Special Olympics is near and dear to the hearts of LSB employees,” says Ungs. “As a community bank, it is our passion to give back to our communities.”

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Meet Team Iowa: Mary-Kate Dorrlacombe

By Stephanie Kocer

When it comes to competition, Mary-Kate Dorrlacombe knows how to keep her cool. She’s been participating in Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA) activities since 2011 and in that time she’s learned about sports, as well as friendship and socialization. Now, at 32 years old, she’s ready to take on her second trip to the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle to compete in swimming.

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From 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. Among those 4,000 athletes and coaches will be 34 Iowa athletes, who will compete in athletics, flag football, powerlifting, swimming, tennis, Unified bocce and Unified bowling.

In 2014, Dorrlacombe attended the Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey, where she swam the 50 meters freestyle and 50 meters breaststroke. She says she had fun and learned a lot. But Seattle will be a little different. For starters, she’ll be swimming the 100 meters freestyle and 100 meters breaststroke. Her coach, Mark Robinson, wanted Dorrlacombe to be challenged this time around. And she feels ready for the change. “Those are the ones I do at state and I can do it,” she says. “I just need to practice more.”

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First-Ever University of Iowa Unified Flag Football Season a Success

By Bryan Coffey

22384046_10155995405387526_5649094252158941992_oSpecial Olympics Iowa (SOIA) and the University of Iowa (UI) Recreational Services Department have collaborated over the past several months to develop a unique and exciting partnership that promotes the Special Olympics Unified Sports component to university students and SOIA athletes.

This partnership has allowed SOIA athletes to compete alongside UI students in a six week Intramural Unified Flag Football Season. On Monday, October 23 the season championship game was held in Kinnick Stadium, where the teams played under the bright stadium lights and were cheered on by the University of Iowa Varsity Cheer Squad.

It was evident during this game that the friendships developed throughout this season were meaningful as the fans in the stands witnessed SOIA athletes and UI Student Partners huddle together to form plays and score touchdowns.22382326_10155995409822526_7965410523128040863_o

“Our first-ever Intramural Unified Flag Football league was a great success. We received great feedback from UI students who participated as partners, as well as the Special Olympics athletes and their families,” says Tommy Schorer, Associate Director, UI Sport Programs. “Great relationships were formed, and the smiles on everyone’s faces were indicative of the great time they were all having. We are excited to be leading the way in the state of Iowa in terms of implementing Unified Sports into our Intramural Sports program, and we hope to see other schools around the state follow our lead. We look forward to expanding to even more sports in the near future.”

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Casey’s General Stores and Coca-Cola raise $98,000 in support of Special Olympics Iowa

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Casey’s General Stores throughout Iowa helped raise funds for Special Olympics Iowa this June with the Casey’s Promotion. Stores, in partnership with Coca-Cola, sold $1 pin-ups with proceeds being donated to Special Olympics as well as a percentage of sales from 44 oz. fountain drinks featuring Special Olympics athletes being donated to the nonprofit.

Over 14,000 athletes in Iowa will benefit from this fundraiser, which raised over $98,000. “Casey’s has continuously shown their generous support of our athletes and Unified Partners as they’ve helped us raise not just funds, but awareness for our organization,” says Special Olympics Iowa President and CEO Rich Fellingham. “We are proud to call Casey’s General Stores one of our Champion Statewide Partners.”

The company’s values are rooted in a sense of belonging to the communities in which it operates, which aligns with Special Olympics’ vision of inclusion for all athletes. Together throughout Iowa, the Casey’s Promotion raises awareness about different abilities and helps foster growth for our programs.

Special Olympics Iowa would like to give their sincerest appreciation for Casey’s and Coca-Cola for their generous donation and support.

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Meet Team Iowa: Cedar Rapids Flag Football Team

By Stephanie Kocer

When fall brings cooler weather and changing colors it can only mean one thing; football season. The Special Olympics flag football team from Cedar Rapids has been preparing for their season for weeks, but it won’t end after Special Olympics Iowa’s Flag Football is over in October.

The team will continue to practice every week into next July to prepare for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Washington, where they’ll represent Iowa as they compete against other flag football teams for the gold.

From 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. Among those 4,000 athletes and coaches will be 34 Iowa athletes, who will compete in athletics, flag football, powerlifting, swimming, tennis, Unified bocce and Unified bowling.

IMG_0934To ready themselves for USA Games, the football team is focusing on perfecting their plays and building their relationships with teammates. “I’m looking forward to good sportsmanship. If you make mistakes, you make mistakes,” says athlete Paul White. He and his brother, Robbie, will be going to USA Games for the first time with the football team. They’re excited to have the opportunity to play on a national scale. “We’re going to cheer on other teams when we’re not playing and we’re going to be excited to play,” says Paul.

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Dubuque Challenge Day Returns to SOIA Lineup

Special Olympics Iowa is excited to announce the Dubuque Challenge Day will return this year to Loras College in Dubuque. The Challenge Day will take place at the college’s Activity and Wellness Center on Friday, October 20, 2017. The day will kick-off with an opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m., with sports activities starting at 10:00 a.m. IMG_2340

Challenge Days are a one-day event designed specifically for the severe and profound population of Iowa as well as our aging population. Because of the need to offer more activities for these individuals, it has been a goal of Special Olympics Iowa to give these athletes opportunities to compete in activities that mirror the 23 Olympic-style sports SOIA offers. 

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2017 Global Messenger Workshop to Take Place December 1-2

By: Wendy Olinger
IMG_8586The Global Messenger Workshop will be December 1-2, 2017 at the state office in Grimes.
This workshop is for athletes who are interested in becoming a Global Messenger or for those Junior and Senior Global Messengers who would like to mentor new Global Messengers and build their confidence to give a speech. Each athlete will need a speech coach to help the athlete organize their thoughts and experiences about Special Olympics as well as put their personal stories and feelings on paper.

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Team Helps Victims of Hurricane Harvey

IMG_2979When Hurricane Harvey hit last month Alicia Porter knew she couldn’t sit on the sidelines and watch. The Special Olympics Iowa coach had an important connection to Houston; her assistant coach, Barb Hottman is originally from the city.

Hottman, a former special education teacher from Houston has a daughter living in Houston and she immediately wanted to go and see firsthand how her and all of her friends were really doing.

“Through phone calls we began to realize that these people were living on cans of soup and even K-rations. We knew that she [Hottman] could not go empty-handed,” Porter said. Team Porter began reaching out to close friends and relatives, asking for donations of food and paper supplies.  With an outpouring of support, a thousand dollars worth of food and supplies were donated and sent with Hottman to bring to Houston.

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SOIA to Roll Out New Release and Medical Forms October 1

Starting October 1, 2017 Special Olympics will require all athletes joining Special Olympics Iowa to complete newly updated Release and Medical Forms.

These new forms will take the place of the Physical and Consent Forms that SOIA required athletes to fill out in the past. Any athlete with a current Physical and Consent Form on file will NOT need to renew with the new forms until their current physical expires.

Before athletes can begin competition in SOIA, they must submit the following forms:

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