Articles in Athletic Events

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.

Events schedule

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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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Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Celebration in Chicago

By Emma Finn

In 1968 the first Special Olympics International Summer Games were held in Chicago, Illinois. Now in 2018, Special Olympics, in honor of 50 years, is returning to Chicago to launch the year-long global Special Olympics 50th Anniversary celebrations this July.

Special Olympics International, Special Olympics Illinois and Special Children’s Charities in Chicago are all coming together to host a week full of fun and exciting events to celebrate the first 50 years of Special Olympics. One event planned is the first-ever Special Olympics Unified Cup, complete with both soccer teams and cheer teams.

Epworth Western Dubuque High School will be representing Iowa at the event!  The team will be cheering the soccer athletes on as well as doing their routine. The team will also get to do a routine with other teams from all over the world. The 4-day competition happens 17-20 July at Toyota Park in Chicago. Unified teams – including players with and without intellectual disabilities—will compete alongside their local football/soccer club sponsor. 

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First-Ever DMPS Unified Sports Day Sponsored by Principal Financial Group

By Emma Finn
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The Des Moines Public School District hosted its first-ever Unified Sports Day on April 19 at the Knapp Center on Drake University’s campus. The event is sponsored by Principal Financial Group, who also provided volunteers to make it possible.

 

In December of 2017, all ten Des Moines Middle Schools became active Unified Champion Schools, meaning that in partnership with Special Olympics Iowa they committed to pursuing Unified Sports, Student Leadership and School-Wide Awareness of intellectual disabilities. Next year, the district will register a number of elementary schools as Unified Champion Schools as well.

 

The goal of this initiative is to build upon and promote to students the concept of inclusion and acceptance across the school district. Unified sports days gives people with and without intellectual disabilities to join together to compete on the same team.

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Meet Team Iowa: Brandon Baier

FB_IMG_1522872672141By Emma Finn

Twenty-six year old Brandon Baier of Atlantic, Iowa will be representing team Iowa at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Washington. The USA Games will take place July 1-6, 2018. Over 3,500 Special Olympics athletes from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, 1,000 coaches, 10,000 family members, 10,000 volunteers, and an estimated 50,000 spectators will be at the event.

This is Brandon’s first year at the USA Games. He will be competing in track and field in the 100, the 4X100, shotput and javelot events.

Brandon explained how he has been preparing for the USA Games by running every day and also practicing the specific events. Brandon will be accompanied by his mother Bernice Baier to the USA Games.

“I am excited for the competition and to meet new friends,” says Brandon.

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2018 Ankeny Young Athletes Play Day

By Emma Finn

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On April 12 Sammons Financial Group will help host the 4th annual Young Athletes Play Day at Ankeny Centennial High School in Ankeny. Young Athletes Play Days are designed to provide activities and socialization opportunities for children with and without intellectual disabilities between the ages of two and seven.

Play Days give children who are too young to participate in formal Special Olympics events an opportunity to compete and engage in Olympic activities. It is an event that helps promote inclusion and acceptance at a young age.

Sammons Financial Group has been a Statewide Partner with Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA) for 10 years. This year, 50 volunteers from Sammons are scheduled to help out at the event. They do everything from helping put lunches together to handing out awards to participants.

“We have a lot of repeat offenders, once they volunteer at this event they become hooked,” says Mary Buscher, a Human Resources Manager for Sammons and a long-time SOIA volunteer.

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Basketball Skills Competitions

By Bree Jacoba 

SOIA’s Basketball Skills competitions help teach athletes basic skills of the game, while preparing them to compete at the state level.MWT 163

For basketball skills, individuals compete in three events: Target Pass, 10 Meter Dribble and Spot Shot.

In the target pass event, a square is marked both on the wall and on the floor. The athlete must stand within the square marked on the floor and try to get the ball to hit inside the ball on the wall. In the 10-meter event, the athlete begins from behind the start line and between the cones and starts moving and dribbling when the official signals. They must cross the finish line between the cones and must pick up the basketball to stop the clock. If the athlete loses control of the ball, the clock will continue to run until the ball is recovered. In the spot shot event, there are six spots that are marked on the floor around a basketball hoop and the athlete has two attempts from each of the six spots to make a basket.

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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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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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