Who: SOIA Athletes, Families & Friends
By: Chelsey Kimmel-Kendrick
Tabitha Darnell was named an outstanding Olympic Athlete of the Year in 2008, was named a Big 12 Special Olympian of the Year in 2009, and has received many ribbons and medals since she started participating in the Special Olympics at age eight. Now, she’s 36 years old, and she’s headed to the World Winter Games in Austria.
The World Games are an international competition where Special Olympic athletes from more than 170 countries participate. The Winter Games include skiing, skating, snowboarding, snowshoeing, floor hockey, floorball and stick shooting. This year’s event will be taking place in March in three locations in Austria: Graz, Schladming and Ramsau. Davenport’s Darnell will be skiing like she has since she was 13 years old. She will not only be representing Iowa, but Team USA as well. This isn’t Darnell’s first World Games event. She went to Dublin, Ireland in 2003. …
On Saturday, April 22, young athletes are invited to participate in the annual SOIA Youth Games at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.
The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with participant registration starting at 9:30 a.m. that day. All events will be held in the University of Iowa’s Hawkeye Recreation Fields. Youth Games are free of cost and each athlete will receive lunch at the event and a T-shirt.
Sports instruction and competition is limited to youth ages 6 to 21 years of age with intellectual disabilities. Participants will choose between track & field, basketball, and soccer and spend the day learning and mastering the skills of that sport! …
Special Olympics Iowa is happy to announce that in 2017, UnitedHealthcare became a SOIA Premier Statewide Partner and a sponsor of Challenge Days and the Healthy Athletes program, positively impacting thousands of Iowans with intellectual disabilities.
UnitedHealthcare fits right in with the SOIA mission, as the company works every day “to help people live healthier lives.” The company has a strong history with SOIA, serving as a Gold Level Sponsor in past years before coming on as a Statewide Partner. And in 2016-2017, in collaboration with Iowa State University and SOIA, they started the “Athlete of the Game” presentation at ten men’s basketball games at ISU, where a Special Olympics’ athlete is recognized on the floor at Hilton Coliseum and presented with an autographed basketball. Prior to that, UnitedHealthcare donated $25,000 to support SOIA programs and activities across the state.
On Saturday, April 8, as a part of their sponsorship at ISU games, UnitedHealthcare will honor all Special Olympics athletes at the ISU Spring Game. The game starts at 1 p.m. and the event is free. They encourage everyone to come! …
Please note that the team bocce allocations for the 2017 Summer Games have been filled. Athletes may still sign up for singles bocce competition on Friday, May 26 at the state games. All entries are due by April 1.
For questions about bocce competition, please contact Sally Briggs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-986-5520.
Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA) has 50 FREE Iowa Energy tickets for the game on Monday, February 13 at 7 p.m. vs. the Reno Bighorns.
The state office has 50 Iowa Energy tickets available for athletes and their families provided through the Veridian Cares program.
In addition to attending the February 13 game, athletes will also receive inflatable Thunderstix to root on the team and the opportunity to participate in the on court fan tunnel during the starting lineup. This is the tunnel that the players run through right before the game starts. To participate in this, your group will need to check in at Fan Services the night of the game at 6:30 p.m. Fan Services is located on the south side of the concourse at the top of Section 124 at Wells Fargo Arena.
Tickets are available at the state office. If interested, call 515-986-5520, or email Stephanie Kocer at email@example.com to claim tickets.
By: Chelsey Kimmel-Kendrick
Join us on our quest as we continue to educate people around the world about the Spread the Word to End the Word® Campaign on March 1. The “R-word” is a commonly used word in our society today. By using that word, you are affecting the attitudes and feelings of the millions of people who have, or know someone, with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
This grassroots campaign continues to strive for a community that is offensive-free and acceptable of every person by spreading the word through school events, rallies and social networking. Every year, Iowa’s Special Olympic athletes and supporters gather at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines in an effort to continue to raise awareness and share their stories. They encourage others to pledge to put an end to using the “r-word” by signing petitions, banners or by taking an oath. …
By: Chelsey Kimmel-Kendrick
For one night, it’s YOUR time to shine! Night to Shine is an event sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation that slowly began in 2015 as a way to connect thousands of guests with mental and intellectual disabilities simultaneously for a special prom celebration. Now, there are 11 countries and over 350 churches joining in.
On February 3 you can join in on the dance at one of five churches in Iowa to host the event. This worldwide event is for people with disabilities who are ages 16 to 99. The night is filled with fun from dancing, paparazzi and even a red carpet. Students from the Iowa School of Beauty help out to make everyone look spectacular for the special night. They help the ladies with their hair and makeup, and help shine the gentlemen’s shoes. The churches also have limousines and decorated Link buses to help transport people to and from the locations. …
There has been a venue change for the Special Olympics Iowa Mid-Winter Tournament, March 10-11 in Iowa City.
Basketball skills will now be conducted in the Main Gym of Iowa City High School located at 1900 Morningside Drive.
Please make sure your athletes are in the staging area, in the auxiliary gym at Iowa City High School, at the appropriate time for their competition with their name tags on the front of their shirts.
As we get ready for another Mid-Winter Tournament, I would like to touch base with you on the Cheerleading and Dance Competition. My name is Katie Rasmussen and I am one of the venue directors for the Cheerleading and Dance competition that takes place at the Mid-Winter Tournament in March. We have completely revised our Cheerleading and Dance manual that you can locate on our website here.
All Special Olympics Iowa Cheerleading and Dance competitions will be ran according to the rules and regulations in this manual.
Here are some helpful reminders to keep in mind for cheerleading: