Articles in Athletic Events

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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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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Meet Team Iowa! 2018 USA Games Participants Announced

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Special Olympics Iowa is pleased to announce the 2018 Team Iowa members going to USA Games next year in Seattle! One year from now – 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.

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2017 Summer Games Award Winners

Special Olympics Iowa honored its Outstanding Athlete, Coach and Family of the Year award winners during the Summer Games Opening Ceremonies presented by Hy-Vee May 25 at Iowa State University’s Hilton Coliseum. The Scott Bryant Unsung Hero Award was also presented to recognize an individual dedicated to the Law Enforcement Torch Run program. 

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Join SOIA at the 2017 Summer Games!

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By: Chelsey Kimmel-Kendrick

Special Olympics Iowa’s 33rd annual Summer Games is a three-day event with more than 2,500 athletes and over 1,500 volunteers. The event consists of several sports including swimming, track and field, bocce, tennis, cycling, soccer and skills games. However, athletes can only participate in one sport per day.

Summer Games will take place on May 25-27. Registration is due by April 1 for the bocce, cycling, soccer and tennis competitions, and April 24 for swimming and athletics (track and field).

The Summer Games will be kicked off with the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg, which brings the symbolic Flame of Hope Torch from downtown Des Moines to Iowa State University’s Hilton Coliseum for the Opening Ceremonies, presented by Hy-Vee. More than 500 law enforcement officers from all around Iowa have participated in the past by running, walking and biking routes, as they head to the big event in Ames. The officers hand the torch to an athlete who lights the flame, which begins the biggest SOIA competition of the year!

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Ankeny Play Day and Its Impact

By Chelsey Kimmel-Kendrick 

More than 425 young children came together to participate in several sports for the Ankeny Play Day on Thursday, April 20 at Ankeny Centennial High School. This is one of many events that is sponsored by one of Special Olympics Iowa’s Premier Statewide Partners, Sammons Financial Group.

Play Days are events where children between the ages of two and seven with intellectual disabilities can play activities and have socialization opportunities. Since athletes cannot participate in Special Olympics events until they’re eight years old, these days were created for those to participate in a more formal setting.IMG_2855

Mary Buscher, human resources consultant for Sammons, says nearly 80 employees from the organization signed up to volunteer for the event. She said Play Days are an event where people do it once and then get hooked.

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2017 Drake University Unified Sports Day to take place May 4

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By Chelsey Kimmel-Kendrick 

Special Olympics Iowa’s 23rd annual Drake Unified Sports Day will be taking place on Thursday, May 4 at Drake University in the Knapp Center, where people with and without intellectual disabilities are joined together to compete on the same team.

Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition, Unified Sports creates teams that are made up of similar ages and abilities. The teams are made up of approximately an equal number of Special Olympic athletes and athletes without intellectual or mental disabilities; these are called partners. The idea behind Unified Sports is to eliminate the preconceived notions and false impressions of Special Olympics athletes.

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SOIA Athlete Headed to World Winter Games

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.TabithaSki

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.

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Sign Up for the Annual SOIA Youth Games TODAY!

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!

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