Special Olympics Florida

Author Archives: soflblogger




Fall Has Arrived!

Posted on November 3, 2016 | Posted in CompetitionLittle ElitesPlay UnifiedSportsUnified Champion SchoolsYoung Athletes

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The month of November will be jam-packed with competitions and events throughout the state for Special Olympics Florida. Headlined by the 2016 State Fall Classic, Special Olympics Florida will also host two Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) League Play tournaments and the 2nd Annual Unified Rivalry Game between Florida State University and the University of Florida.

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A Touching Act of Generosity

Posted on September 16, 2016 | Posted in FundraisingGiving

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Acts of kindness – no matter how big or small – have the power to inspire and change lives beyond what we can imagine. One young man’s recent generosity moved those around him and multiplied his gift.

The Konopik family from Collier County recently purchased a new car at Tamiami Hyundai. After their purchase, they were given the opportunity to take their chances in the free “money machine,” a booth with a wind tunnel that throws cash around for the participant to grab.

The Konopik’s 11-year old son Jonathan entered the money machine and was able to snatch $131. Read More »


Special Olympics rally people of all abilities

Posted on August 22, 2016 | Posted in Play UnifiedSportsUnified Sports

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All eyes have been glued to Rio for the past two weeks. Both the U.S. men’s and women’s 4×100-meter swimming medley relay teams won the gold medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics. The medley relay race perfectly exemplifies the power of uniting athletes’ unique strengths to achieve more than any one person could by him or herself.

As the president and CEO of Special Olympics Florida, I have been able to witness a movement growing here in Florida and throughout the world through Special Olympics Unified Sports. As in the swimming medley, Special Olympics Florida is bringing together athletes of diverse abilities to bring about incredible change. Read More »


Running in the Right Direction

Posted on August 2, 2016 | Posted in Athlete ProfilesSports

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Running can be freeing, exciting, and fun—it can also be utterly terrifying.  Special Olympics Florida athlete Cheyenne knows what it’s like to run under both circumstances.  By age ten, she had run away 33 times. Teachers and doctors described her as obstinate, wild, and a chronic eloper.

Thanks to the dedication of her adoptive parents and doctors at Emery University, Cheyenne was tested and diagnosed with cognitive delays. She was weaned off medication, placed in a class with students like her, and introduced to Special Olympics. Read More »


Play Unified. Live Unified.

Posted on July 6, 2016 | Posted in Play UnifiedUnified Champion SchoolsUnified Sports

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Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team and playing field. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.

Last month, Special Olympics Florida held its second Youth Summit at the University of South Florida. The Youth Summit provides Special Olympics Florida athletes and Unified partners the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills, learn inclusionary tools, and have an overall fun weekend together. Read More »


Celebrating a Record-Breaking Year for Athletes

Posted on December 14, 2015 | Posted in Athlete LeadershipFundraising EventsHealth ProgramsIntellectual DisabilitiesSportsYoung Athletes

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Competition and training are at the core of Special Olympics. It’s through sports that our athletes realize their potential and become champions. At Special Olympics Florida, we now serve 30,000 athletes statewide, a record only possible thanks to the families, volunteers and donors whose shared belief in revealing champions makes our movement possible. As we celebrate 2015, I want to personally thank everyone who has dedicated their talents to helping our grassroots movement grow. Read More »


What It Took For This Volunteer To Become a Champion

Posted on November 16, 2015 | Posted in Athlete Profiles

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The following is a guest post from a Special Olympics Florida volunteer, coach and Unified Partner. As a Unified Partner, athletes compete in a unique sports format that pairs together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities. 

My name is John Almond and I am a Special Olympics coach and Unified Golf Partner in West Palm Beach, Florida.  I first became associated with Special Olympics in 2013 because of my good friend Ron who is a Management Team Member. And I’m grateful for the opportunity he has given me. Read More »