January 24, 2008

All events free and open to the public The weekend of February 8-9 in Rochester, over 1,000 Special Olympics New York athletes and coaches from across the state will join the Winter Games, presented by Wegmans Food Markets.

The event features Floor Hockey at the Fair & Expo Center, Figure and Speed Skating at the Skating Institute of Rochester, Nordic Skiing and Snowshoeing at Ellison Park and Alpine Skiing at Swain Resort. Winter Games showcases the achievements of Special Olympics athletes and is one of three annual state games and 400 total competitions held each year throughout New York.

 Opening Ceremonies: Friday, February 8 at 8:00 PM at the Rochester Auditorium,
From the grand entrance of the athletes accompanied by the highly decorated Knights of Columbus to the Wyoming County Correctional Facility color guard, and from the talented local group “Dance 22” to the Bryon-Bergen High School Marching Band playing the famous “Rocky” theme, the excitement of Opening Ceremonies will officially catapult our Winter Weekend into action.

Guest speakers include Emcees Kevin Doran, WROC-TV News 8 Now; and Yolanda Vega, New York Lottery; Athletes and Global Messengers Cori Piels and Peter Daily; Special Olympics Coach Ric Miller as National Anthem singer; and many more.

The concluding highlight will be The Law Enforcement Torch Run by local officers and Special Olympics athlete torch runners, Brian Mann and Cheryl McCrea, who will light the Special Olympics Cauldron.

 Athletic Competition: Saturday, February 9, beginning at 8:30 AM.
For a detailed schedule visit www.specialolympicsNY.org

10:00 AM Alpine Swain Resort
10:00 AM Figure and Speed Skating Skating Institute of Rochester
8:30 AM Floor Hockey Team Fair and Expo Center
9:00 AM Nordic Skiing Ellison Park
9:30 AM Snowshoeing Ellison Park
10:00 AM Floor Hockey Skills Fair and Expo Center

8:30 AM – 3:00 PM Volunteer Check In All Venues
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM Olympic Town Fair and Expo Center
8:00 PM – 8:15 PM Closing Ceremonies The Main Street Armory

According to Neal J. Johnson, president and CEO, Special Olympics aims to demonstrate that when people with and without intellectual disabilities are brought together by its year-round program of training and competition, myths are dispelled, attitudes are changed and new opportunities to embrace and celebrate people with intellectual disabilities are created.

In addition to Wegmans Food Markets, Winter Games are made possible through the generosity of Statewide Sponsors New York State United Teachers; Law Enforcement Torch Run; Media Sponsors WROC-TV and WHAM Radio; Gold Sponsor Knights of Columbus; Silver Sponsor Civil Service Employees Association; and Bronze Sponsors Federation of New York Insurance Professionals and the New York State Correctional Officers Benevolent Association.

2007 Fall Games

October 7, 2007

SONY’S reception by the Rochester community for these Fall Games was remarkable. The bountiful support of Monroe County, the enthusiastic volunteerism of area residents, the generosity of local businesses and the outstanding assistance of the many sport venues for our games are tremendous testaments to the valuable resources of the area. We are indebted to everyone for making this experience for our athletes an outstanding and memorable one.

In an unprecedented move, SONY awarded four state-level competitions over two-years to Rochester, these Fall Games inaugurating the excitement. This decision was spearheaded by the Monroe County Sports Commission and Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, and quickly supported by Wegmans, along with our statewide and regional sponsors. We thank them all for their support.

Opening Ceremonies are being heralded as the best indoor ceremonies on record for SONY. It was certainly a magnificent commencement to a day of intense competitions. More than 1,000 athletes proudly paraded into a crowd of fans, cameras, high fives and spectators who came out to the Riverside Convention Center to show their support for these spirited athletes. In full and beautiful regalia, the Knights of Columbus led the athlete parade.

Highlights of the evening included a moving rendition of the national anthem, perfected by Nikta Bell. Sankofa engaged the audience with an energetic and dynamic performance of their African Dance and Drum ensemble. Special Olympics athletes Amanda Vito and Joe Best welcomed everyone to Rochester, and with the help of fellow Genesee region athlete, Teddy Schweitzer, lead the athletes in the Athletes Oath.

The Byron Bergen High School Marching Band jazzed the crowd with its vibrant sound as the Rainbow Guard of Special Olympics cheerleaders waved colorful streamers. The Wyoming Correctional Facility Color Guard “wowed” the gathering with its practiced spinning and tossing of bayonet-fixed rifles. The flashing lights and gunning engines of motorcycles ignited the New York Law Enforcement Torch Run, culminating in two local athletes lighting the Special Olympics Cauldron with the Flame of Hope.

The pinnacle of the evening was Neal Johnson and the Special Olympics World Summer Games team offering their best wishes to the assembled athletes through a video recorded prior to their departure for the World Games in Shanghai, China. As they declared the Fall Games open, a pyrotechnic show sent streams of smoke and lights across the stage to the cheers of all the athletes, coaches, families and friends.

Competition Day brought out the Rochester news hounds who knew where the action was. TV crews filmed stunning soccer moves, photographers’ lenses caught slow moving bocce balls and fast paced cycling races, reporters scribbled notebooks full of gold, silver and bronze medalists’ names during the awards and all treated our athletes and coaches with considerable (and well-deserved!) attention.”

At outlying venues, golfers whizzed triumphantly across fairways in their carts while softball players whacked singles, doubles and home runs, cross country runners huffed and puffed with determination through the park as equestrians elegantly maneuvered their steeds, and roller-skaters did graceful laps around the shiny rink.

Olympic Village Healthy Athletes’ volunteer clinicians examined athletes’ eyes, ears, feet and teeth, providing essential healthcare and offering tips on fitness and nutrition.

Special Olympics merchandise ‘flew off the tables’ until the rain hit the outdoor tent. But being in a true ‘Blue Light Special’ mode, staff quickly moved the merchandise-loaded tables the Total Sports Experience building so that athletes and coaches were able to shop ‘till they dropped at 10 o’clock in the evening! Those athletes still standing moseyed on over to the Victory Dance Celebration for the official close of Fall Games.

Special Olympics New York’s 2007 Fall Games Competition on Saturday, October 6 in Rochester

September 13, 2007

Volunteers Needed for Sports Spectacular Special Olympics New York’s 2007 Fall Games are coming soon to Rochester. Fall Games is one of the annual state games and one of more than 400 total competitions held each year throughout New York. This is the first of four state competitions to be held in Rochester in the next three years. Future events include Winter Games in February 2008, Fall Games in October 2008 and Winter Games in February 2009. All events are free and open to the public. Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is the Premier Sponsor for Fall Games.

Volunteers are needed to fill key roles in support of the Fall Games competitions:
 Register athletes, set up (and break down) sports venues, present medals, distribute lunches, sell merchandise, and help with the Olympic Village and Victory Dance.
 Staff the following athletic venues: bocce, cross country running, cycling, golf, softball, soccer, rollerskating and equestrian.

The deadline for volunteer registration is September 28. For more information on volunteering, please visit www.specialolympicsNY.org and click on Fall Games, email volunteer@nyso.org or call 1-800-836-6976. To sponsor an athlete through a financial contribution, please e-mail Tracy O’Leary at toleary@nyso.org.

“We are pleased to be coming to Rochester and are experiencing a terrific community response for our Fall Games,” said Special Olympics New York President and CEO, Neal J. Johnson. “We are receiving donations of time and energy and financial contributions, and we are extremely grateful for this community support.”

Athletic competition takes place Saturday, October 6 in seven Olympic-style sports. For a detailed schedule visit www.specialolympicsNY.org More than 1,000 athletes and coaches from across the state will take part in the Fall Games, held at Total Sports Experience, Rochester Industrial Office Park, Lehman Farms, Churchvill Golf Course, FX Horizon and Cobbs Hill Recreation Center. Opening Ceremonies will be held Friday evening.

Genesee Region Athletes to Compete in 2006 Special Olympics USA National Games

June 28, 2006

Local athletes join Team New York traveling to inaugural event in Ames, Iowa. Special Olympics New York officially announces that 13 athletes from the Genesee Region will participate in the first-ever Special Olympics USA National Games, July 2 – 7, 2006, in Ames, Iowa. The 2006 USA National Games will be one of the largest multi-sporting events to happen next year.

The athlete contingent for Long Island will participate in Athletics, Aquatics, Bocce and Bowling. They are just some of 3,000 Special Olympics athletes expected to compete at National Games. They all qualified at last year’s 2005 Special Olympics New York Summer Games at Hofstra University, Long Island and the 2004 Fall Games in Seneca Falls

Special Olympics is a year-round sports organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. With more than 170 million worldwide (approximately 7 million in the United States), people with intellectual disabilities make up the largest disability population in the world. Intellectual disability crosses the lines of racial, ethnic, educational, social and economic backgrounds, and can occur in any family. Currently, Special Olympics is nearly 2 million athletes strong in more than 150 nations around the world.

When ask about how Special Olympics has changed his life, Amanda Vito noted “It has made me realize that I can do anything I set my mind to and that I can participate with others who are like me and have fun.”

To obtain more information on these local athlete please contact Steve Fuller (sfuller@nyso.org) or Susan MacBryde (smacbryde@nyso.org) for assistance.

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