Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.The Special Olympics Athlete Oath
Every four years Special Olympics conducts a National Summer Games in the United States that includes athletes from all 52 US Programs. New Jersey is proud to have been selected as host of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, the Games of Welcome and Acceptance.
The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will showcase athletes competing in 14 official and 2 demonstration sports during the week of June 14 – 21. Competitions will be offered in both Traditional and Unified play, bringing together the community to support and play side-by-side with our athletes, in what expects to be the most inclusive Games in Special Olympics History.
While the Games will highlight competition, special events including Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athlete events and educational programs throughout the week, will create an experience of a lifetime for all athletes, families and volunteers in attendance…..leading to a change in understanding and acceptance of persons with Intellectual Disabilities in communities throughout New Jersey and throughout the United States.
Special Olympics, Inc. has grown from a modest program serving local athletes to become the world's largest movement dedicated to promoting respect, acceptance, inclusion, and human dignity for people with intellectual disabilities through sports.
The Special Olympics mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
In communities around the world, Special Olympics sports training and competition transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, providing life-changing benefits which transcend the playing field. Through millions of individual acts of inclusion where people with and without intellectual disabilities are brought together through Special Olympics programs, longstanding myths are dispelled, negative attitudes changed, and new opportunities to embrace and celebrate the giftedness of people with intellectual disabilities are created. The Special Olympics Movement can ultimately transform communities by inspiring people throughout the world to open their minds, accept and include people with intellectual disabilities and thereby celebrate the similarities common to all people.
Special Olympics is a world-class sports organization providing sports training and competition opportunities to nearly 3.1 million people with intellectual disabilities in over 175 countries. This "everyday" sports training, culminating every two years in a World Games competition, brings together athletes on a world competition stage.
The Special Olympics Athlete Oath is:
Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.
Special Olympics began in 1968 when Eunice Kennedy Shriver organized the first International Special Olympics Games at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, USA. One thousand athletes with intellectual disabilities from 26 States and Canada competed in athletics (track & field), floor hockey and aquatics.
The concept was born in the early 1960's when Shriver started a day camp for people with intellectual disabilities. She saw that individuals with intellectual disabilities were far more capable in sports and physical activities than many experts thought. Since the first Special Olympics Games in 1968, the World Games have grown to be a truly international phenomenon, held in the United States, Europe and Asia.
On July 2-7, 2006, the inaugural Special Olympics USA National Games took place in Ames, Iowa. Three thousand athletes from all 50 States and the District of Columbia competed in 12 sports and a demonstration of the Motor Activities Training Program (MATP). With the 2003, 2007 and 2009 World Summer Games being held outside of the United States, the USA National Games continues to provide a United States forum through which society at large can better understand the qualities and capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities. The most recent USA National Games was held in Lincoln, Nebraska from July 18-24, 2010.
The Games showcase the skill and courage of the Special Olympics athlete. They are run at the highest level of professionalism and integrity. Through the USA National Games, Special Olympics athletes transcend the boundaries of geography, gender, age, culture and religion. The Special Olympics USA National Games are the ultimate event that will change the attitude of all those who are touched by them.
New Jersey is located in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. It is bordered on the northeast by New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware. New Jersey lies largely within the sprawling metropolitan areas of New York City and Philadelphia.
New Jersey is generally divided into three geographic regions: North Jersey, Central Jersey, and South Jersey. Each region has much to offer and is popular and diverse in its own right. Central Jersey, specifically Mercer County and the Greater Princeton area, will serve as the hub for the 2014 USA Games.
Considered by many to be one of the best kept secrets in the Northeast; Mercer County is 60-90 minutes by train or car to New York City, Philadelphia, the New Jersey Shoreline, the Delaware Water Gap and the scenic Appalachian Trail. Rich in history and culture, the greater Princeton Area is comprised of scenic farmlands and historic landmarks of the American Revolutionary War. The quaint historic towns of Princeton, Lawrenceville, Lambertville, and Kingston each offer charming streets full of great boutiques, gourmet eateries, and storybook scenery. Yet all are within minutes of major interstates and the Route 1 Corridor, lined with major hotels, regional shopping malls and a wide range of restaurants.
During the month of June, New Jersey temperatures range from mild with low humidity, to hot with moderate humidity. The average high June temperature is 80°F with the average low temperature of 60°F. June is generally considered one of the driest months of the year in New Jersey. State-wide precipitation can average 3.95 inches. There are approximately 15 hours per day of day-light during the month of June in New Jersey.
New Jersey has been a leader in industry and commerce since Thomas Edison established his research laboratory in nearby Menlo Park. Today, New Jersey's economy is largely centered on the pharmaceutical industry; serving as home to major pharmaceutical firms and major telecommunications firms. Specifically, Mercer County and the Greater Princeton Area are home to world renowned Princeton University and other important institutions.
New Jersey currently has four teams from major professional sports leagues playing in the state. The National Hockey League's New Jersey Devils play their home games at the Prudential Center in Newark. The New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Area's two National Football League teams play in New Jersey; the New York Giants and the New York Jets both play in East Rutherford at Met Life Stadium, home of the 2014 Super Bowl. The New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer play in Red Bull Arena, a state of the art soccer- specific stadium located in Harrison, outside of Downtown Newark.
Recreation and entertainment are abundant in the Mercer County Greater Princeton Area, with first-class parks; four public golf courses; Mercer County Park featuring the Caspersen Rowing Center, training center for the US Olympic Rowing team; the Trenton Titans professional hockey team and the New York Yankees AA-affiliate, Trenton Thunder at Waterfront Park. The Sun National Bank Center is ranked among the best performing venues of its size in the world. Athletic facilities at Princeton University, Rider University and The College of New Jersey are all conveniently located within the boundaries of Mercer County and the Greater Princeton Area.
The transportation infrastructure throughout New Jersey utilizes a combination of road, rail, air, and water modes. In particular, Mercer County's systems are considered to be excellent. Key corridors along the New Jersey Turnpike, along with Interstates 95, 195 and 295, as well as state highways routes 1, 29 and 130 will afford delegations from a variety of east coast programs a cost effective option of driving to the 2014 Games.
Air travel to New Jersey and the Mercer County/Greater Princeton area is available at a multitude of regional airports. Including:
The New Jersey Transit Corporation (usually shortened to New Jersey Transit, NJ Transit or NJT) is a statewide public transportation system serving the state of New Jersey and portions of New York. Operates bus, light rail, and commuter rail services throughout the state, notably connecting to major commercial and employment centers both within the state and in the adjacent cities of New York and Philadelphia. Service throughout Mercer County and the Greater Princeton Area via Bus & Rail is highly concentrated and easily navigated.