June 28, 2006
Local athletes Thomas Chieffo and Roberta Gerard joins Team New York traveling to Inaugural event in Ames, Iowa. Special Olympics New York officially announces that Thomas Chieffo of Hyde Park and Roberta Gerard of New Paltz 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.
Chieffo will participate in Aquatics and Gerard in Athletics. They are just a two of 3,000 Special Olympics athletes expected to compete at National Games. They were selected after qualifying at last year’s State Summer Games on Long Island at Hofstra University.
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, Chieffo noted “Special Olympics has given me the opportunity to train and develop my athletic skills, then try my best at competition. I have fun when I compete with my friends. My family enjoys it too and is very proud of me.”
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