Special Olympics Iowa’s 31st annual Winter Games happened in Dubuque on January 9th and 10th. Athletes from across the state competed in winter sports like figure skating, speed skating, Alpine skiing, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
Over 300 athletes from across the state are set to compete in the 2017 Special Olympics Iowa Winter Games January 9-10 in Dubuque. More than 130 coaches and chaperones, as well as 150 volunteers, will donate their time to serve the athletes and make the event a success.
Children and adult athletes of all abilities will participate in sports like Alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, short track speed skating and figure skating. The Grand Harbor Center, Sundown Mountain, Albrecht Acres and Mystique Community Ice Center will host the competitions and activities.
“Our athletes are very excited to showcase their skills and abilities at the Winter Games,” said SOIA Director of Sports & Advanced Competitions, Rhonda Schwarzkopf. “Their dedication is amazing to watch. Winter Games would not be possible without the support and commitment of athletes’ families, coaches and our volunteers.” …
On August 27, 2016 the USTA sponsored a tennis competition for Special Olympics Iowa athletes at the North Scott High School tennis courts in Eldridge, Iowa.
About 40 athletes enjoyed great weather and friendly competition while playing singles matches all day. The event included free T-shirts, an award ceremony, pictures and a lunch for athletes, coaches and volunteers. There were also daytime fireworks for all to enjoy!
SOIA would like to thank the USTA for helping put on the event and giving Iowa athletes a great opportunity to test their tennis skills, and volunteers and parents for making the day run smoothly.
Often times while in a public setting when someone finds out that I work for Special Olympics, I am asked “When is the Special Olympics?” This question always surprises me since we offer year-round sports competition and training. When answering the question, I generally say what sport season we are in. At this time of year I would say, “We are in the middle of our softball season right now. We just finished two softball skills competitions and three team conference tournaments. Our state tournament will be August 6 in Ankeny.” I then follow up with, “We offer 23 different sports and five special programs. Our athletes are then able to practice and participate all year long.”
Most people are amazed that Special Olympics events are held year round. It is because of our dedicated volunteers that we are able to offer over 80 area and state competitions not to mention frequent fundraising events. Volunteers are truly the mainstay of the Special Olympics organization. They fulfill a wide variety of positions including those involved with area management, coaching, chaperoning, competition planning and fundraising. Volunteers are committed to our Special Olympics athletes and want to provide them with numerous participation opportunities. …
I hope you are having a great summer! Ours has certainly been a busy and exciting one thus far. For those of you who were able to attend Summer Games, you experienced great weather, saw many of your good friends and, in the words of many, “experienced the best Summer Games we’ve had in a long time.”
As always, the city of Ames and ISU opened their doors, arms—and, most importantly, their hearts to all of us as they have for over 30 years. Medals and ribbons were proudly displayed by our friends and they happily shared stories of triumphs.
But the best thing I saw was the joy of friendship among all who were there. Certainly our athletes led the pack (as they should), sharing high-fives, hugs and displaying smiles that were a mile wide. The same enthusiasm was obvious in our family members and our volunteers. Athletes were able to demonstrate their abilities—vs disabilities. I was (and am) so very proud of them. …
Special Olympics Iowa held the 32nd annual Summer Games at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, May 19-21. The Games consisted of three days of competition in sports like aquatics, athletics, tennis, bocce, developmental, soccer and cycling.
Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA) hosted two Young Athlete Play Activity Day sessions sponsored by Sammons Financial Group on April 21. The event was held at Ankeny Centennial High School with one session running in the morning and one in the afternoon.
The Youth Athlete Play Activity Day is a program designed to provide play activities and socialization opportunities for children with intellectual disabilities between the ages of two and seven. The program is for children that are too young to participate in traditional SOIA competitions as the minimum entry age for traditional competition is eight years old. Area schools participated in the Ankeny Play Day, as well as a few schools that were from outside the area, making it the biggest Play Day event in its history. …
The USTA is sponsoring a tennis competition on August 27, 2016 at the North Scott High School tennis courts in Eldridge for Special Olympics athletes, ages 8 and up. There will be singles matches played with a ranking of 2.0 and higher. …
More than 1,000 Special Olympics Iowa athletes and Unified Sports partners from across Iowa are set to compete in the annual Mid-Winter Tournament to be held March 11-12 in Iowa City. The event is made possible with the help of more than 350 volunteers from across the state.
Powerlifting, team basketball (3-on-3 and 5-on-5) and gymnastics competitions will be held at the University of Iowa Field House, while Iowa City West High School will host cheerleading, dance and basketball skills. Competition begins at 9 a.m. March 12. A Healthy Athletes session will be held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Iowa City West High School.
The Opening Ceremony will take place March 11 at 6 p.m. along with a banquet and dance at the Coralville Marriott Exhibit Hall.
The volunteer spirit was shining bright during Special Olympics Iowa Winter Games in Dubuque, especially among a group of students from the University of Dubuque who were lending a helping hand at the Mystique Ice Arena. For five years, the Quest for the Cup class, taught by Jim Romagna, has helped to make sure the figure skating and speed skating events run smoothly. Students help with race coordination, helping athletes on and off the ice, cheering them on during their events, race timing, awards, set-up and tear down.
Romagna is the department head of the Health, Wellness and Sport Program at the university and has turned volunteering at Winter Games into an annual event in the course syllabus. The J-term class is held for three weeks during the university’s winter break, with the primary focus on learning the history of the Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL hockey team. Students get an inside look at hockey operations including marketing, fundraising, practices, off-ice workouts and more. …