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About 2014 Special Olympics USA Games

 

In June of 2014, New Jersey will reveal America’s Champions at a historic, life and perception-changing event.  From June 14-21, New Jersey will host the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games where more than 3,500 athletes from around the country will compete in 16 sports before tens of thousands of fans and volunteers.

Every four years Special Olympics conducts a National Summer Games in the United States that includes athletes from all 52 US Programs.  In 2011, New Jersey was chosen as the host of the  2014 Special Olympics USA Games, the most dynamic, innovative and largest national Games to date.

The 2014 USA Games is also being billed as the Games of Welcome and Acceptance. 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 2014 USA Games will highlight competition, it is the special events including Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the athlete events and educational programs throughout the week that will create an experience of a lifetime for all athletes, families and volunteers in attendance.  The potential reach of these Games will help lead to a change in understanding and acceptance of persons with intellectual disabilities in communities throughout New Jersey as well as 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.

    • Nearly 3.5 Million Special Olympics athletes worldwide
    • 226 Programs around the world
    • More than 170 Countries around the world
    • Seven Regional Offices
    • 32 Olympics-type sports
    • 44,000 competitions annually
    • 805,000 volunteers worldwide
    • 250,000 coaches around the world

 

Special Olympics Mission and Vision

 

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 USA Games

 

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.