Summer Games Brings Home the Gold

June 22, 2005

Third Time a Charm at Hofstra University. The Hofstra University campus was the epicenter of great competition, inspiring moments, new records, fun, smiles and excitement for three straight days as the Special Olympics New York 2005 Summer Games came to town. More than 3,000 athletes and coaches competed in the games on Long Island from June 16-19.

The Games started with a bang at the Opening Ceremonies on Thursday night. Although the Ceremony was set to take place outside at the soccer stadium, a storm blew in and forced it inside to the Hofstra Arena. The arena could hardly contain the excitement as the athletes came in to thunderous applause. Senator Charles Schumer, the senior Senator from New York, attended the Ceremonies despite the weather delay. He congratulated the athletes on their accomplishments and wished them the very best in the competitions to come. Local law enforcement officers then came into the arena, still wet from the downpour while they ran the final leg of the Flame of Hope, and with the help of Long Island Athletes Donna Grillotti and Dan Carrochio lit the torch. SONY President and C.E.O. Neal J. Johnson, along with Male Athlete of the Year Paul Asaro, officially opened the Special Olympics New York 2005 Summer Games.

“The competition over the next two days was phenomenal,” said Peter Lawrence, Vice President of Competition. “There were so many great and inspiring moments that it wouldn’t be fair to single out just one. The athletes did what they do best: competed, showed what true sportsmanship is all about and had a great time doing it.”

After two full days of competition the Games came to a close, but only after the gold medal basketball game. “The game was great,” said Johnson. “It was a wonderful opportunity to allow everyone to watch an exciting game that they normally would too busy to see, and the athletes on both the Long Island and Queens teams were great.”

After the game the Closing Ceremonies officially brought an end to a great Summer Games. Peter Lawrence relayed “ I will remember these Summer Games for a very long time to come.”

Why Wait For 2012? Olympics Already in New York

May 25, 2005

Nearly 3,000 Athletes and Coaches to Participate in Special Olympics New York 2005 Summer Games With the swirl of preparations underway for New York as a potential Olympic site in 2012, many New Yorkers may not be aware that there are Olympic Games already taking place in the region. The Special Olympics New York (SONY) 2005 Summer Games will be held at Hofstra University on Long Island from June 16-19.

For an unprecedented third consecutive year, SONY’s Summer Games are returning to the Hofstra campus. “The combination of excellent facilities and an extremely supportive community made the decision easy for us,” said Neal J. Johnson, SONY’s President and C.E.O.

Nearly 3,000 athletes and coaches will compete in the 2005 Summer Games. The Games will commence with Opening Ceremonies and the lighting of the Flame of Hope on Thursday evening. Competition will take place Friday and Saturday in eight Olympic-style events: basketball, bowling, gymnastics, power lifting, swimming, tennis, track & field and volleyball. After the competition is completed the weekend will wrap-up with Closing Ceremonies and the Victory Dance.

“We’re excited to be coming back to Long Island and Hofstra University for an unprecedented third straight year,” said Johnson. “This is the first time in SONY’s 35 year history that state games are staying at one location for more than two consecutive years. Based on our experiences in 2003 and 2004, we know that this year will be even better than the first two.”

Summer Games are made possible through the generosity of many sponsors including: New York Lottery, Fraternal Order of Police, Cablevision.

Summer Games Close, Will Return to Hofstra in 2005

June 20, 2004

Summer Games Close, Will Return to Hofstra in 2005
When Special Olympics New York (SONY) President and Chief Executive Officer Neal J. Johnson extinguished the Special Olympics Cauldron tonight, bringing SONY’s 2004 Summer Games to a close, a crowd of thousands roared. Judging from the smiles and medals shining in Hofstra University’s Arena, the Summer Games were a hit.

“Our athletes put on a phenomenal display this weekend,” Johnson said. “They demonstrated a wealth of joy, determination and courage, and they showed all of Long Island exactly what children and adults with mental retardation are capable of.”

The 2004 Summer Games featured nearly 3,000 Special Olympics athletes competing in eight Olympic-style sports. The Summer Games will return to Hofstra in 2005.

“Never in the 35-year history of Special Olympics New York have we conducted our Summer Games at the same location for three consecutive years,” Johnson said. “Since our first two years at Hofstra University have been an unmitigated success, though, we’re returning for the trifecta. The facilities at Hofstra are world class, as are its people, and the community of Long Island has truly opened its arms to our athletes. They can’t wait to come back.”

Stories From the Summer Games – A Laugh a Lap Leads to Gold

June 18, 2004

Stories From the Summer Games
David Crandall got the Summer Games started in style. The Windsor resident pulled away from the field in the 5,000-meter race at Mitchell Field the event took place at 8 a.m. and was the first competition of the Summer Games and he smiled while he did it.

“We keep it light,” said Jeanne Johnson, Crandall’s long distance coach, who joked with Crandall on each of his 13 laps. Sometimes he shot a one-liner back at her, and other times he just threw his hands in the air and laughed. “We love for him to have fun.”

Don’t let Crandall’s smiles or laughter fool you, though: the Windsor resident is fast. He used his long legs to clock 20 minutes and 18 seconds, which was good for the gold medal.

“I get psyched up when I run and I think about how much fun it would be to win,” said Crandall, who trains as much as 20 miles per week. He also is a BOCES student and he works. “When I crossed the finish line, I knew I’d achieved my goal and helped my team.”

Long Island Athletes Stay Close to Home

The Long Island contingency of athletes didn’t have very far to travel for Summer Games.

In some past years, those on the southernmost piece of New York State could spend seven or eight hours on a bus to get to Summer Games. Not this year.

“It was great,” said Benjamin Beavers of Amityville, who competed in three Track & Field events. “We took a 45-minute ride this morning to get to Mitchell Field.”

There’s a flip side to hosting Summer Games, though. Some host region athletes say that competing in their backyard adds a little additional pressure to perform well.

Other athletes are unfazed whether the track they run on is in Long Island or Buffalo or wherever: “I don’t feel any pressure,” said Long Island’s Allison Coffin, who competed in four Track & Field events. “I just do my best and if someone else is having a hard time, I cheer them on.”

Pressure or no pressure, Beavers and Coffin are both excited that the Summer Games will return to their home in 2005.

“It’ll make me work hard so that I can come back to this wonderful place and represent Long Island to the fullest,”Beavers said.

“I can’t wait,” Coffin said. “I love it.”

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