Volunteers Needed for Winter Games

January 10, 2005

Be apart of the action and be inspired “We have always enjoyed great support from the greater Syracuse community,” said Special Olympics New York President and Chief Executive Officer, Neal J. Johnson. “Whether it’s sponsoring an athlete at the games, coming out as fans or volunteering, we have been very fortunate for their continuous support.”

As the Winter Games draw near SONY is looking for additional volunteers at the outlying venues. “We are extremely grateful to everyone that has already signed up,” said Diana Bennett, director of volunteers for SONY. “At this point, volunteers at the Toggenburg Ski Center and Highland Forest would be extremely helpful.” Volunteer jobs include escorting athletes, timers, gate keepers and score keepers. Ski patrol volunteers are also needed.

Come be apart of the 2005 Winter Games, presented by P&C Food and Pharmacy, and witness these extraordinary athletes in action.

For more information on becoming a volunteer contact Diana Bennett at (800) 836-6976 or at dbennett@nyso.org. To sponsor an athlete email Rebecca Santoli at rsantoli@nyso.org

SONY kicks off countdown to Winter Games

December 6, 2004

Special Olympics New York day proclaimed in Syracuse As the end of 2004 draws to a close Special Olympics New York (SONY) is making news in Syracuse. On Tuesday, December 7th, SONY held a press conference on the ice of the War Memorial to begin the countdown to the 2005 Winter Games.

President and Chief Executive Officer of SONY, Neal J. Johnson directed the press conference. Special Olympic Athlete and Global Messenger Megan O’Hara spoke about her involvement with SONY and her excitement that the games are coming to her backyard. Megan also talked about her claim to fame, appearing on a Wheaties box back in 1998.

Onondaga County Executive, Nicholas J. Pirro and Charles Everett, a representative from Mayor Matthew J. Driscoll’s office, read a proclamation declaring Tuesday, December 7th, Special Olympics New York day in Syracuse. County Executive Pirro also spoke about our inspirational athletes and their on and off the field accomplishments.

SONY’s 2005 Winter Games are presented by P&C Food and Pharmacy. Director of Consumer and Public Affairs for P&C, Mary Anne Hankins, said her company is proud to be the presenting sponsor and excited to be a part of the Winter Games.

Vice President of Marketing for the Oncenter, Jerry Keohane, welcomed SONY to the facility. The Oncenter Complex will be the site for most of the competition during the Winter Games. President of the Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau, Doug Small, talked about the economic impact the Winter Games will have on the city of Syracuse and the surrounding area.

“The press conference was well attended by local television stations, the local newspaper and radio stations,” said Neal J. Johnson. “With the amount of press coverage we were able to get, we hope to have created a buzz about the games that will translate into more sponsors, more volunteers, and more fans coming out to see our greatest asset; our athletes.”

After the press conference concluded the television stations had an opportunity to interview athletes and SONY staff. Figure Skater Cori Piels and Speed Skaters Asha Renford and Jessica Carino, all from the Genesee Region, took to the ice after the press conference to demonstrate their skills for the news crews.

The 2005 Winter Games, presented by P&C Food and Pharmacy, is coming to Syracuse from February 11-13th. For more information on sponsorships call Rebecca Santoli at 1-800-836-6976 ext. 105 or e-mail at rsantoli@nyso.org. To volunteer call Diana Bennett at 1-800-836-6976 extension 111 or email at dbennett@nyso.org

Syracuse Athlete Sets the Bar for Special Olympics

June 19, 2004

LONG ISLAND – Don’t let Benson Simpson’s size fool you. The 5-foot-2 Special Olympics athlete from Syracuse packs a lot of power into his 146 pounds.

In fact, at Special Olympics New York’s (SONY) 2004 Summer Games, Benson smashed three statewide Power Lifting records.

On June 18, Benson bench pressed 270 pounds, shattering SONY’s old record by 50 pounds. Then, on June 19, Benson dead lifted 440 pounds, exceeding the old record by 40 pounds. His combined total of 710 pounds is 105 pounds over the former mark. The old records were set in 1992 and 1999.

Benson was one of approximately 3,000 SONY athletes and coaches competing in the Summer Games at Long Island’s Hofstra University. The Summer Games are SONY’s largest and most prestigious competition, and athletes competed in Basketball, Bowling, Gymnastics, Power Lifting, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field and Volleyball. Olympic-style rules apply.

Special Olympics New York provides year-round, cost-free sports training and competition in 23 Olympic-style sports for children and adults with mental retardation.

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