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North America Stories

Here are the best stories from Special Olympics programs across North America.

August 24, 2014

Athletes Get a Kick Out of Aon Soccer Clinics

Manchester United Brings Soccer to US Athletes Thanks to Soccer Clinics Hosted by Aon

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March 15, 2014

Special Olympics Demonstrates Need and Impact to Lawmakers

2014 Capitol Hill Day in U.S. Athletes and leaders demonstrate need and impact to lawmakers, and Special Olympics bestows it's highest honor on a legislative champion.

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January 14, 2014

Special Olympics North America Announces 2013 Coaches of the Year!

Special Olympics North America announces its 2013 Coaches of the Year! Social Special Olympics North America is honored to announce the selection of Jennifer Walsh of Massachusetts and Rob Wagner of Iowa as the Special Olympics North America 2013 Coaches of the Year! 2014-01-14

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November 18, 2013

Confidence in Sports and Life

“I feel stronger. I can run faster. I can do it on my own and I never give up.” This is what Special Olympics athlete Molly Hincka will tell you is the secret to her confidence, her training and joy of running.

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June 03, 2013

"Our Athletes Lost a Friend Today"

"Our Athletes Lost a Friend Today:" Special Olympics Mourns Passing of Sen. Lautenberg (NJ)

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May 26, 2013

SONA Golf Invitational Tournament

More than 200 golfers from throughout North America will compete in the 13th annual Special Olympics North America Golf Invitational Tournament, September 6-9, 2012 at the beautiful Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, Arizona.


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October 02, 2012

Barnabas Health Presenting Sponsor of 2014 USA Games' Family Programs

Barnabas Health Supporting Families of 2014 USA Games

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August 08, 2012

Special Olympics Leaving Viewers “Speechless” with New Public Service Announcement

Susie Doyens remained practically mute for most of her childhood due to social pressure and anxiety. See how she literally shattered those fears with the confidence gained through Special Olympics.

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July 22, 2012

PSE&G Powers 2014 USA Games with $1M Pledge

PSE&G named Founding Partner of 2014 USA Games with $1M pledge

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May 07, 2012

Missouri Golfer Jason Wright Sinks Third Ace

Every golfer dreams of making a hole-in-one: Special Olympics athlete Jason Wright now has three of them!

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April 25, 2012

Aiming High

MacKenzie MacDonald has faced many challenges growing up. She and her parents found ways to overcome -- and Special Olympics was a big part of that. It still is.

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March 21, 2012

David Egan: Finding His Voice

David Egan has always dreamed big. When he was a youngster, starting out as a Special Olympics swimmer, he dreamed of winning his races. As he grew, he looked to bigger goals –having a job and finding ways to change attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities.

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March 14, 2012

Toys"R"Us Named Founding Partner of 2014 Special Olympics USA Games

SocialToys"R"Us Named Founding Partner of 2014 Special Olympics USA GamesBuilding on a Company wide Commitment to Supporting Children with Special Needs, Toys“R”Us® will Serve as the Presenting Sponsor of the 2014 Games First ever Young Athletes™ Festival2012 03 14(PRINCETON, NJ)

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March 05, 2012

How Has The R-Word Impacted You?

Special Olympics and Best Buddies ask supporters to share their stories as part of the 4th annual Spread the Word to End the Word Awareness Day.

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February 09, 2012

Special Olympics Athletes and Best Buddies Participants Spend Day on Capitol Hill Advocating For Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act

Special Olympics and Best Buddies participants and supporters joined together yesterday on Capitol Hill to meet with America’s elected leaders to urge continued commitment to the work of the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver and to make sure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are top of the mind when critical decisions are made for the country.

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November 04, 2011

A Basketball Legend

In the world of basketball he is a legend.  John Moreau refereed at countless NCAA tournaments and Olympic trials.  He has been on the court with basketball super-stars like Michael Jordan, David Thompson, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson. Coach Jimmy Valvano affectionately called Moreau “Papa John.”

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October 22, 2011

Meet the newest members of Special Olympics Project UNIFY's® Youth Activation Committee

Special Olympics believes that through sports young people can make a difference in friendships, schools and communities. Project UNIFY is youth driven, with a Youth Activation Committee (YAC) made up of young people representing middle schools, high schools and colleges nationwide. Members of the committee will work together over the course of the year to develop strategies promoting school communities where all young people are agents of change. During their time on the committee, YAC members will provide leadership to Special Olympics and Project UNIFY by participating in Special Olympics global events, providing advice and counsel on strategies to reach other youths, engaging in and promoting Special Olympics activities in their home environments, communicating and networking via Web connectivity with other youth around the country, and reviewing Project UNIFY materials for innovation and viability.

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October 22, 2011

Voices that Impact a Movement

One athlete called attending the Global Athlete Congress the adventure of his life. Others spoke of the responsibilities that come with being delegates to the first such meeting in five years, held June 6-9 in Marrakech, Morocco.  Now they can all look back on what was accomplished – which was a lot.

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October 20, 2011

Home Town Hero

When Amanda Gump was growing up, kids made fun of her because they said there “something wrong” with her. Whenever it was time to pick teams, she was always chosen last.

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October 12, 2011

Remember Lani DeMello?

SocialDoctors said Lani is “never going to achieve anything.”  She defies their low expectations every day. She is a graceful gymnast and leads by example, mentoring other athletes.2011 10 12 A World of OpportunitiesRemember Lani DeMello? She was born with

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August 23, 2011

Special Olympics' New Global Ambassador Leads By Example

His is a tale that appeals to many people -- the story of a physically awkward kid who struggled with learning and behavior problems; but overcame them all to become one of the greatest swimmers of all time. But for Special Olympics athletes, the Michael Phelps story has an added meaning: he's living proof that determination can lead to skill and that skill can lead to triumph.

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July 01, 2011

A Swimmer's Quest to Defy Expectations

Melissa, a 28-year-old swimmer from the Matanuska Valley in Alaska, has spent much of 2011 training toward her goal of getting “all golds” at her first World Games. A swimmer from Alaska may seem a bit unusual, but Melissa makes a habit of defying expectations.

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June 30, 2011

Love for Football Ties Us All Together!

Brazilians legends Romario and Zico, two of the World's most loved football heroes, are the latest to be tied together with the Special Olympics movement and millions of athletes around the world.

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June 01, 2011

Soaring to Glory: Meet Brady Tanner

Brady Tanner has countless medals to his name and has been competing in a variety of Special Olympics sports for over two decades. But powerlifting is where Brady really excels and he is heading to the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens to represent Team USA. But his road to glory was not an easy one.

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May 31, 2011

Brother-Sister Youth Partners

Sarah and Ben are not just siblings, they’re a team. In June, they head to the Global Youth Activation Summit in Athens from Colorado, where they lead Project Unify® at their school and are working to expand youth involvement in Special Olympics Colorado.

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May 19, 2011

Eyes on the Prize

Karen Dickerson says she's most at home when her running shoes are pounding the pavement. Six days a week, several miles a day, all year long.  She's always trying to improve -- her time, her form, her endurance.

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May 18, 2011

Special Olympics is My Life

Even before he got involved with Special Olympics, Ted realized the importance of participating in sports and he was there to help and encourage the athletes.

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April 21, 2011

School Organizes “Drills on Wheels” Service Project

Students from John F. Kennedy High School in Cleveland, Ohio, organized “Drills on Wheels,” an event and awareness campaign for Special Olympics.

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April 20, 2011

A World of Opportunities

Doctors said Lani is “never going to achieve anything.”  She defies their low expectations every day. She is a graceful gymnast and leads by example, mentoring other athletes.

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April 01, 2011

Joshua's Journey of Discovery

Joshua Powell is on an exciting journey of discovery. A recent arrival in China, Powell grew up in Colorado where he got involved with sports as a Special Olympics athlete at the age of 7. He's now learning Chinese and helping younger people in China with intellectual disabilities. He wrote this narrative of his adventure so far.

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March 23, 2011

Fierce Competitor

Kayla McKeon has been in Special Olympics for a decade, and it has helped her build strength, make friends, learn responsibility and develop confidence. Now, Kayla applies these skills in her daily life and in college.

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March 23, 2011

Hometown Champions

Meet Melissa, Scott, and Christopher – their stories are testaments to the power of sport.

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March 23, 2011

Athlete Kayla McKeon

Kayla McKeon has been in Special Olympics for a decade, and it has helped her build strength, make friends, learn responsibility and develop confidence. Now, Kayla applies these skills in her daily life and in college.

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March 14, 2011

2014 National Games

New Jersey will be the site of the 2014 Special Olympics USA National Games, an event that will draw up to 80,000 athletes, coaches, family members and spectators to the state and which will leave behind a legacy of acceptance and respect for people with intellectual disabilities.

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March 09, 2011

In Memory: Jimmy Carnes

It is my sad duty to report to you that the Special Olympics movement lost one of its most loyal and dedicated volunteers this week, Jimmy Carnes. Jimmy died on Saturday March 5 after a long battle with cancer. His wonderful wife, Nanette, and many of his 14 children, grandchildren, step grandchildren and great grandchildren were at his side. He was 76 years young.

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February 16, 2011

Runs in the Family

For John and Lisa Aronson, Special Olympics has been a constant.  Both avid athletes, they got involved at an early age and met while volunteering.  Even after starting a family, they still make time to organize state tournaments and volunteer at the Games-- bringing their three-year-old twins along to cheer.

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January 18, 2011

A Family Affair, the Keiths

Kathy and Doug Keith were warned that their son Jimmy, diagnosed with Down syndrome, may not have the same physical abilities as his twin sister. Keiths were determined that Jimmy would have opportunities to play sports. Today, the entire family is involved, cheering at events, playing sports, raising funds to support athletes like their son, coaching, and even starting a basketball program

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December 21, 2010

Special Olympics Wyoming Hosts Its Second Youth Activation Summit

In November, nearly 100 youth and mentors representing 14 schools from 8 different Wyoming communities attended the 2010 Wyoming Youth Activation Summit in Casper, Wyoming.  That’s more than DOUBLE the participation from last year’s inaugural Summit!

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November 20, 2010

"Hooked" on Special Olympics

Social"Hooked" on Special OlympicsJay Glicksman’s tenure as a Special Olympics volunteer and coach spans two decades.  He is also a loyal donor to the organization.  Through his involvement and support, Jay has transformed the lives of many athletes, yet he

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November 19, 2010

Project UNIFY® Youth Leaders join the National School Climate Council

The National School Climate Center announced additional members, for a total of 37, to the National School Climate Council.  The Council represents critical education stakeholders and advances a national campaign focused on school climate policy, practice and research.

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November 16, 2010

The Power of Persistence

To get where he is today, Special Olympics power lifter David Hill has moved mountains – or at least his mom thinks so. 

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October 22, 2010

Colorado Youth Committee Hits the Ground Running

On September 26, 2010, Denver Broncos Linebacker #92, Elvis Dumervil generously provided Special Olympics Colorado with the opportunity of a lifetime inviting 14 SOCO student Athletes and Unified Sports® Partners to attend the Broncos vs. Colts game at INVESCO Field.

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October 20, 2010

Celebrating my Brother

Jenni Newbury has seen firsthand the transformative power of Special Olympics. Having recently joined the staff, Jenni told us about her brother’s involvement and how she strives to create new ways for Jason to be included.  We wanted to share their story with you.

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October 20, 2010

Sportsmanship, On the Playing Fields and Off

Three Special Olympics athletes from the Serbian town of Cacak received an award for their sporting achievements.  In an act of generosity and sportsmanship, they decided to help out their hometown team with a contribution.

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October 04, 2010

Special Olympics North Carolina Combines Inaugural Project UNIFY® Youth Summit Kickoff with Inaugural EKS Day Celebration

At the invitation of North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, Special Olympics North Carolina hosted its inaugural EKS Day celebration on September 24th with a reception for more than 200 at the Executive Mansion in Raleigh, NC, including 70 Project UNIFY® youth attending from throughout the state for the first-ever Youth Summit.

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October 01, 2010

Donated Nike Sneakers Invaluable to Athlete with Land Mine Injury

When she first stood up in new athletic shoes provided at a health screening in Warsaw, Poland, Jennet Sopyeue smiled broadly and gave Fit Feet Clinical Director Carine Haemels two enthusiastic thumbs up. No wonder.

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September 23, 2010

Rosa's Law

A journey that began as one Maryland family’s battle for respect and acceptance for their daughter and sister, Rosa, became a significant milestone in the ongoing battle for dignity, inclusion and respect of all people with intellectual disabilities when United States President Barack Obama signed bill S.2781 into federal law on October 5, 2010.

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September 18, 2010

Agreement to Boost Coaching Skills

An agreement that will raise the profile of Special Olympics in the international sports community and also lead to a stronger coaching program with improved coaching guides was set into place last month in Europe.

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September 16, 2010

Special Olympics Missouri Kicks Off Year 3 of Project UNIFY®

On September 8-9, Special Olympics Missouri Field Staff from across the state gathered at Tan-Tar-A resort to kick off Year 3 of Project UNIFY®.

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August 31, 2010

Project UNIFY Op-Ed

We fight to end the R-Word every day. We all know it’s how the world should be, but many times, those with no connection to our athletes have trouble understanding why it’s so critical.They read it in laws. They hear it used every day by their friends. They say it in their everyday conversation. Thanks to the passing of Rosa’s Law in the Senate earlier this month, the first of these three has been eliminated and we are one step closer to achieving the respect, dignity, and acceptance of those with intellectual disabilities.

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August 17, 2010

Special Olympics Helps Athlete Lose 150 lbs to Win Gold

Special Olympics rhythmic gymnast Sara Abbott is accustomed to beating the odds. When she was an infant, doctors said she would never walk or talk; she was not supposed to live past the age of 30; and three years ago, she weighed well over 300 pounds.

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August 11, 2010

Special Olympics Mourns Loss of Long-time Leader

The entire Special Olympics family is saddened by the great loss of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, who championed the efforts of Special Olympics throughout his life.

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July 19, 2010

A Call for Renewed Commitment to Inclusive Education

During the USA National Games in Nebraska, Special Olympics Chairman and CEO Tim Shriver and First Lady of Nebraska Sally Ganem hosted over 30 national and local education leaders and 15 youth with and without intellectual disabilities for an Education Roundtable discussing Special Olympics move to introduce a broadened vision of inclusion in the classroom.

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July 09, 2010

Unity Cup Marks Start Of A Journey

The first-ever Special Olympics Unity Cup presented by Coca-Cola marks the beginning of a great journey between Special Olympics and long-time global partner, Coca-Cola.

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July 01, 2010

Practicing what we Preach: Providing Healthy Foods at Events

Volunteers at Healthy Athletes Health Promotion events spend time and energy teaching athletes about avoiding sugar and fat-filled snacks, the benefits of eating a bigger variety of fresh fruits and vegetables  and other healthy eating habits. Yet, when the athletes leave the venue, the food choices that confront them, whether it is in their homes or even at the Special Olympics cafeteria, often don’t include healthy alternatives.

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June 21, 2010

Millett to Represent USA at "Special Olympics Unity Cup"

One of the 16 Special Olympics athletes selected for the first-ever, Special Olympics Unity Cup Presented by Coca-Cola is Matthew Millett from South Grafton, Massachusetts, who will be representing the United States.

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June 21, 2010

Special Olympics Haiti Rebuilds Through Camp Shriver

In an effort to rebuild a strong and robust Special Olympics Haiti, Camp Shriver is slated to launch in five cities across the country, starting July 5. The sports day camps for people with intellectual disabilities--named after the founder of Special Olympics, the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver--will run for four weeks in Petionville, Carrefour, Jacmel, Les Cayes and Cape Haitian.

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June 21, 2010

Endurance Racer Makes the World Games a Reality for Singapore Athletes

At first, Michael Dee’s goal was merely to conquer Chile’s brutal Atacama Desert, as part of a nearly week-long endurance race across one of the harshest environments on Earth. At about 10,000 feet high, the Atacama is where NASA scientists go to study terrain that most resembles the dry, desolate Martian landscape. It's also where this 53-year-old native of Buffalo, NY, took up a unique challenge as part of the 4Deserts Ultramarathon, known as one of the most punishing endurance races on the planet. The Singapore-based businessman hoped to raise enough money to send all of Singapore's Special Olympics athletes to the 2011 World Summer Games in Athens.

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May 25, 2010

Special Olympics Supports Student's Legal Battle

In December, A U.S. District Court judge in Michigan ruled that Oakland University had discriminated against Micah Fialka-Feldman, a student with an intellectual disability, when officials decided he could not live in on-campus housing.

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May 17, 2010

EKS Newsletter: Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act Introduced

We are thrilled to share with you a significant step forward in our efforts to move the 2010 Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act through the U.S. Congress.

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May 17, 2010

Nebraska Readies for 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games- Largest Event in State's History

More than 3,000 athletes from 48 states will compete in the US National Games July 18 – 23 in Lincoln, NE. The Games will mark a milestone as the largest event in the history of the state of Nebraska and engage more than 8,000 volunteers, the University of Nebraska and numerous local and national businesses throughout the state.

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May 17, 2010

The Dream Team

Sport: South Carolina Unified Soccer Team; “The Dream Team”
Delegation: South Carolina
Achievement: Earned a bronze medal while competing in the highest unified division of the 2009 SC State Fall Games.

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May 05, 2010

EKS Challenge

On the morning of October 23, 2010 hundreds of Best Buddies and Special Olympics supporters will cycle, run and walk the streets of Washington, D.C. at the National Mall to honor the legacy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. 

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May 05, 2010

Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act Introduced

We are thrilled to share with you a significant step forward in our efforts to move the 2010 Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act through the U.S. Congress.

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May 01, 2010

Store Owner, Vendors Partner to Supply Athletes with Free Shoes

As a shoe store owner and Special Olympics Florida coach for more than six years, Richard Wills has regularly given away merchandise from his store to Special Olympics athletes in need.

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April 21, 2010

Frank Selva Is Awarded with The PGA’s Conrad Rehling Award

When it comes to Special Olympics golf, volunteer and PGA Professional Frank Selva has been a driving force in building the sport for the movement in Connecticut and throughout the country. On March 23, Selva was recognized for his more than 20 years of service with the PGA Conrad Rehling Award.

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March 18, 2010

Thousands Make Their Pledge for 'Respect'

March 3, 2010 marked the second annual day of awareness for “Spread the Word to End the Word.” With more than 20,000 pledges on March 3 at www.r-word.org a major goal of the campaign was surpassed - 100,000 total pledges.

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January 27, 2010

Capitol Hill Day 2010

On Wednesday, January 27th there was a certain excitement in the air on Capitol Hill – not only because of the President’s State of the Union address – but because Special Olympics athletes, Best Buddies participants, along with coaches, program leaders and family members from 43 states across the U.S. were in town to share their passion for the needs of those with intellectual disabilities.

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January 27, 2010

Broadening the Depths of Opportunity

Thousands of miles away from the warm water temperatures of his home in the Cayman Islands, Andrew Smilley was about to join 800 swimmers, including five fellow Special Olympic athletes, in one of the most challenging Open Water Swims in the world, the RCP Tiburon Mile.

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January 27, 2010

Social Media Celebrating Special Olympics Athletes

When Special Olympics Cayman Islands athlete Andrew Smilley was voted to have achieved the Greatest Open Water Swim of 2009 in an online poll it was a great accomplishment first and foremost by Smilley, but it also proved to be a tremendous example of how the passion and devotion of Special Olympics athletes, families and supporters has successfully transcended to the Internet thru social media and other online communities.

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January 27, 2010

Community Support Reaches Across the Border

Most of us were shocked and dismayed when we heard about the devastation that was caused by the earthquake in Haiti earlier this month.

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January 27, 2010

Healthy Athletes Has Impact Long After Closing Ceremonies

Chih Hua Liu's visit to Healthy Athletes Opening Eyes at the 2009 World Winter Games in February ended in an ambulance ride to the emergency room with dangerously high pressure in his eye. When Bill Lutz went to a Healthy Hearing screening later that week, he was wearing obsolete hearing aids that left him virtually unable to hear. Recent follow-up interviews found that these athletes and many others like them are still benefiting from the interventions received at Healthy Athletes, as well as their overall Special Olympics experience.

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January 26, 2010

Letter from Special Olympics Timothy J. Shriver to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Letter from Special Olympics Timothy J. Shriver to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

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January 25, 2010

NFL Player Turned Staffer is "Hooked"

A former professional player with the National Football League, Tony Covington understands the meaning of "the power of sports"--on and off the playing field.  He told us about the difference he sees in Special Olympics athletes and how his own worldview has been transformed.

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January 01, 2010

A New Pair of Goggles, A Whole New World

At one time, Athlete Kristina O’Neal did not know the pool had depth, but she is now open to a whole new world of swimming because of a precious gift of goggles from Healthy Athletes.

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Making SuccessDoctors said Lani is “never going to achieve anything.” Learn More »


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Special Olympics Blog

Sport and Tech Team Up for Good

Now, thanks to Microsoft, athletes, coaches and families will have rapid access to useful information about their scores, times, personal bests, fitness and health. Special Olympics can use this capability to dramatically improve the lives of people in our Movement.  read more »

Posted on 2014-10-27 by Janet

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