Each month we will be highlighting one of our incredible athletes. To kick off 2017, the January Athlete of the Month is William from Hillsborough County. Check out his video!
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.
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
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 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
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
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
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
The following is a guest post from Herley Pellew, Manager of Special Olympics Florida’s Project UNIFY.
Special Olympics Florida Fall Classic is the culminating celebration and competition for athletes, partners, and coaches participating in bowling, cheerleading, gymnastics, powerlifting, softball, and unified flag football. Fall Classic takes place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex November 13th-14th. With the additions of cheerleading and flag football to this year’s festivities, 2015 Fall Classic will have over 2,200 total athletes, partners, and coaches attending and sets itself up to be the biggest one yet. Aside from the numerous competitions simultaneously taking place, Healthy Athletes will also be conducting health screenings for all participants. Healthy Athletes will be able to conduct screenings in all six disciplines due to the generosity of over 450 health professional volunteering for this event. Screenings will be conducted in Fun Fitness, Fit, Feet, Healthy Hearing, Heathy Promotions, Opening Eyes, and Special Smiles.
The following is a guest post from Harrison Long, a Special Olympics Florida volunteer and student at Palm Harbor University High School in Florida.
This may create uneasiness while reading, but I have to be candid to share my story. We have all been around that “cool kid” who uses words like crippled, handicapped, slow, stupid or retarded to address an individual with a disability. I am embarrassed to say, when I was younger I may have been one of those kids too. I was one of those people who saw the disability before I saw the actual person. I was quick to make the assumption; these kids are inept and incapable. I had friends who would poke fun at these individuals. I wasn’t strong enough to put a stop to it or maybe I just wasn’t impassioned enough to do so. However, that all changed for me in middle school when a powerful experience helped me recognize who the “cool kids” really were. Read More