SONY Athletes Ready for Winter Games – Nearly 1,100 Athletes and Coaches to Participate

February 8, 2005

This Friday nearly 1,100 athletes and coaches will be in Syracuse for the Special Olympics New York 2005 Winter Games presented by P&C Food and Pharmacy. The Opening Ceremonies will commence at 8 pm at Driver’s Village Conference Center in Cicero.

The athletes will compete in 7 Olympic-style events on Saturday including floor hockey, floor hockey skills, figure skating, speed skating, alpine skiing, nordic skiing, and snowshoeing. Most of the competitions will be held at the Oncenter Complex with alpine skiing being held at the Toggenburg Ski Center and nordic skiing and snowshoeing being held at Highland Forest. Saturday Night’s Closing Ceremonies have been moved to the Oncenter and will begin at 7:30 pm.

Story lines that might be of interest include:

1) Benson Simpson, from Syracuse, was highlighted by Sports Illustrated in its Faces in the Crowd section after his record breaking power lifting performance at the 2004 Summer Games. At the 2005 Winter Games Benson will be playing floor hockey with his two siblings.

2) Dr. Daryl Gross, the new Athletic Director for Syracuse University, will be making his first public appearance in Syracuse after officially taking the job. He’ll be joined by the Syracuse Cheerleading Squad at Opening Ceremonies.

3) Twenty New York athletes will be representing the state and country at the 2005 World Winter Games in Nagano, Japan later this month. The North East Knights, the first floor hockey team from New York to compete at a World Games, will be competing in Syracuse as a warm-up.

4) In addition to the Northeast Knights, four skiers from New York will be competing in Japan, including Andrew Beyel of Rome, who will show his nordic skiing skills at Highland Forest.

5) It is impossible to hold an event like this without the many volunteers who give their time and energy. Of the hundreds that will help helping out, several are soldiers stationed at Fort Drum. They are coming to Syracuse on their days off to ensure that the athletes have a top notch sporting experience.

6) Students will also be traveling to Syracuse from the University at Buffalo Dental School, SUNY College of Optometry and Springfield College to volunteer for Healthy Athletes screenings.

7) A Canadian Floor Hockey team, the Mississauga Lightning, will be competing at the Winter Games. The team held fundraisers to cover their transportation and lodging just to be a part of the Games and compete with the best teams in New York.

The Special Olympics New York Winter Games presented by P & C Food & Pharmacy, are also sponsored by Niagara Mohawk: a National Grid Company, the New York Lottery, New York State United Teachers, Advance Auto Parts, Merrill Lynch, Sensis Corporation, the Gifford Foundation, HealthNow, Welch Allyn, Sunny 102 and Tobacco Free Sports.

Countdown to Special Olympics New York 2005 Winter Games presented by P&C Food and Pharmacy

February 1, 2005

In just over a week nearly 1,100 athletes and coaches will participate in the Special Olympics New York 2005 Winter Games presented by P&C Food and Pharmacy. The games will take place Friday, February 11th to Sunday, February 13th. The athletes have been training for months and they are ready to show off their athletic abilities to the Syracuse community.

Opening Ceremonies will be held at Driver’s Village Conference Center, in Cicero, on Friday, February 11th at 8 p.m. We invite everyone to come and cheer on our athletes along with New York Lottery’s Yolanda Vega and Sunny 102’s Brenda Bissett.

The athletes will compete in 7 olympic-style events including floor hockey, floor hockey skills, figure skating, speed skating, alpine skiing, nordic skiing, and snowshoeing. Most of the competitions will take place at the Oncenter Complex on Saturday, February 12th, with alpine skiing taking place at Toggenburg Ski Center and Highland Forest will host nordic skiing and snowshoeing. Oncenter will also host the Closing Ceremonies and the Victory Dance on Saturday, February 12th at 7:30 p.m.

“The Syracuse community has always been one of our most supportive areas in the state,” said Special Olympics New York President and C.E.O., Neal J. Johnson. “The community has already come out to volunteer for the Games and local businesses have shown their support in sponsoring the Games. Come be apart of the Winter Games and you will be inspired.”

The Special Olympics New York Winter Games presented by P & C Food & Pharmacy, are also sponsored by Niagara Mohawk: a National Grid Company, the New York Lottery, New York State United Teachers, Advance Auto Parts, Merrill Lynch, Sensis Corporation, the Gifford Foundation, HealthNow, Welch Allyn, Sunny 102 and Tobacco Free Sports.

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


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