Articles from February 2018

Loras College Wins NCAA Special Olympics Spotlight Poll

By Stephanie Kocer


Loras College’s Student-Athletic Advisory Committee has received the NCAA Division III Special Olympics Spotlight Poll. The poll’s purpose is to, “enhance the lives of Division III student-athletes and Special Olympics athletes through a mutual learning experience; provide a platform for recognition of Special Olympics athletes and Division III student-athletes within their communities; and raise awareness of Special Olympics, its programs and services,” says the NCAA partnership website.

The partnership is a way to encourage Loras students to participate in existing Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA) events, while also creating their own events to help serve Special Olympics athletes. On October 20, 2017, Loras student-athletes volunteered at and hosted the Dubuque area Challenge Day at the Athletic & Wellness Center on campus. Following the event, Loras was entered into a voting poll on with two other schools, winning the vote by 78 percent. The college won $500 to go towards future SOIA events, which they plan to use on March 22 for the first-ever Dubuque area Young Athletes Play Day.

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Meet Team Iowa: Officer Ron Lane

By Emma Finn

Ron Lane is a Conservation Officer for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The Cedar Rapids native has been involved with the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) since 2000. He got his Torch Run start when he first joined the department and found out it was an event they always participated in. When he heard about it he jumped at the opportunity and has been involved ever since.IMG_9581s

The Torch Run is an event each year in which law enforcement officers carry the Special Olympics Flame of Hope along planned routes, covering all corners of the state. For the Final Leg, officers run and bike the torch from Des Moines to Ames, converging on Hilton Coliseum. The Torch is passed to a Special Olympics Iowa athlete who lights the Olympic Flame at the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics Iowa Summer Games. Officers around the state collect donations for the opportunity to run or bike in the Final Leg.

With 18 years of Torch Run experience Lane has made many memories. One in particular that he recalls was when an officer’s son participated in the games, and they decided to get him an officers’ shirt to wear that they had all signed. He also got to help the officers on the run. He remembers them all taking a picture together and how incredible that moment was.

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Special Olympics Iowa Delegates Made Case of Impact and Need for Critical Funding on Capitol Hill

Special Olympics Capitol Hill Day 2018

Special Olympics athletes, Program leaders, Unified partners, and family members from all 50 states and the District of Columbia converged on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on February 13 for Special Olympics’ annual “Capitol Hill Day.” This was the first time in the 16-year history of Capitol Hill Day in which all 50 states were represented, honoring the organization’s 50th Anniversary.

Special Olympics athletes held more than 250 face-to-face meetings with Members of Congress in both the House and Senate, challenging and inviting their elected officials to partner with them to achieve the goals of expanding Special Olympics Unified Sports and Unified Champion Schools programming, and to end health care disparities and discrimination against the 15 million persons with intellectual disabilities in America by supporting inclusive health initiatives.IMG_3937

Special Olympics athletes, serving as self-advocates, educated lawmakers and their staff about the significant consequences that arise from the stigma and stereotypes faced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They described how that impacts their lives in the areas of sports, health care and education. The goals of Capitol Hill Day were to effectively convey the high impact and cost-effectiveness of Special Olympics’ evidence-based programming that addresses these issues, to educate lawmakers and to secure continued support from legislators.

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Meet Athlete Kim Lively

By Emma Finn

Meet Kim Lively from Ames, Iowa!  Kim has been participating in Special Olympics for many years. The events that she competes in are track, bowling and softball. Her favorite event to participate in is bocce.Kim 1

Kim got involved in Special Olympics through her mom and friends who already participated in events when she was a little girl. Over the years Kim has racked up a number of gold medals. However, her biggest accomplishment through Special Olympics is being named the 2015-16 Big 12 Female Athlete of the Year.

KimLivelyOne of Kim’s favorite memories with SOIA is playing bocce with her friends Mikey, Lizzy and Katie through the Unified Sports program. When Kim is not practicing in Special Olympics she is working at Walmart, spending time with friends and family, or cheering on the Iowa State Cyclones.

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Meet Team Iowa: Billy Habermann

By Emma Finn

Billy Habermann of Sioux City will be representing Iowa this summer at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Washington July 1-6. He will be participating in tennis, coached by his mother and father, Kathy and William.Billy 5

Billy did not start his Special Olympics career as a tennis player. He got the idea to start participating in the event by watching his brother who is a tennis player. Billy not only participates in tennis but has also participated in bowling, basketball, softball, track and golf.

Billy got his start with Special Olympics when he was in middle school. One of his teachers got a group of students together and he has been competing ever since. Billy is one of the original five members of the Sioux City Knights delegation that was started five years ago. Over time the Knights have become so popular that they now have around 100 members representing them.

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