Student-Athletes Show Support for VT Special Olympians

Due to COVID-19, Special Olympians across the nation are going digital for the Virtual Special Olympics. In Vermont, collegiate student-athletes showed support for the state’s Special Olympics chapter with words of encouragement.
COVID-19 has made times confusing and difficult for many. Special Olympians are no exception to the times. As we covered previously, many Special Olympics chapters across the country are opting to host their Special Olympics events virtually to overcome social distancing regulations that keep the organizations from hosting their normal events.

In Vermont, student-athletes on Saint Michael’s College’s varsity teams logged in with their own words of encouragement for the Special Olympians. In a video spearheaded by rising sophomore athlete, Marisa Carignan, the Purple Knights cheered Special Olympians on and wished them luck in the Virtual Special Olympics.

Special Olympics Goes Digital: 2020 Virtual Summer Games

For Special Olympians, the Games must go on! In opposition of cancellations brought on by COVID-19, some Special Olympics chapters are going digital with the first-ever Virtual Summer Games. When the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially announced that Tokyo 2020 was at risk of being cancelled -- fans and Olympians were certainly disappointed. For Special Olympians, similar news was more than just disappointing -- the news was devastating. Mona Hjerpe, head coach of the Hutchinson, Minnesota Special Olympics chapter, explained the difficulty Special Olympians are facing. “...they miss the social aspect, just to be able to give each other a hug,” said Hjerpe.

In an effort to brighten the spirits of Special Olympians, the organization is going digital with the 2020 Virtual Summer Games. Participants who have been active in their chapter of Special Olympics throughout the past year are eligible -- and encouraged -- to take part in the Games. Athletes are welcome to submit…

Special Olympics Texas Stays Connected Online

Due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), both the 2020 Summer Olympics and Special Olympics events have been postponed until further notice. To keep spirits high, Special Olympians, coaches and families in Texas are staying connected online.
Recently, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the 2020 Summer Olympics will be postponed. This devastating news is also impacting Special Olympians who were eagerly anticipating their own Olympic events. With social distancing in full effect, everyone is being impacted by a lack of human interaction. This has been especially difficult for Special Olympians who’ve grown to view their coaches and fellow athletes as family.

In Texas, Special Olympics athletes and coaches, like Tank Shottle, are spreading positive vibes by keeping connected via social media. Together, athletes, coaches and their families are posting fun videos, daily puzzles and maintaining contact -- all online.

Special Olympics Texas chapter president, Tim Cook, commends…

Tokyo 2020 Postponed Due to COVID-19

Needless to say, the Coronavirus pandemic (also known as COVID-19) is shaking up everyone’s way of life at this time. This week, Olympians and fans of the Olympics learned that Tokyo 2020 is no exception to the pandemic’s devastation.
It’s a sad day for fans of the Olympic Games. On Monday, March 23, 2020, International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound told USA Today that the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo “probably won’t happen.” With shutdowns going into effect around the globe, it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is to blame for this announcement. IOC, however, has yet to release an official statement regarding postponement of the Games.

This news is a devastating blow to Olympians and fans of the Olympics alike. A whopping 1 million spectators attended the 2018 Winter Olympics. This was a surprising feat for the Winter Games, which often fall behind in attendance when compared to the Summer Olympics. With this number in mind, it is clear why postponement is impera…

Get to Know The Athletes: Special Olympic Global Athlete Input Council

The Special Olympics is not just an organization that serves individuals of the United States. The Special Olympics is a global organization created specifically to offer support to individuals of all ages facing life while living with intellectual disabilities worldwide. 
That is why Geannette Wittendorf is such a proud supporter of this sports charity - it offers an outlet for all athletes and their families to live a life of fulfillment despite other difficulties.
The organization brings people together, reassuring in the fact that we are all different; we all have different capabilities, but no one person is better than the rest - we are all important in our own unique ways. 

The organization utilizes their strong efforts on inclusion to highlight athletes across the globe on their "Global Athlete Input Council" page on their website. All athletes, regardless of region, are able to recognize their worth with the help of competitive sports. Follow along with their stories…

Special Olympics Inspired by Children and Adults Facing Intellectual Disabilities

Geannette Wittendorf is a huge proponent for the Special Olympics and all the organization does for the athletes, families and volunteers that participate. 
The main goal of the Special Olympics is not focused on sports, it's about supporting those who deal with intelectual disabilities. Sports are used as a tool to create a safe space for athletes of all ages to come together and compete, finding the support they might need to overcome personal obstacles along the way.

Though athletes are the heart of the organization, helping the families and loved ones is just as important as supporting the athletes. The Special Olympics is a place for fitness and fun, that can be used as an outlet for joy in the lives of those facing intelectual disabilities.

What is an intellectual disability? 
According to the organization, intellectual disabilities, or ID, are the most common developmental disabilities.

"Intellectual disability (or ID) is a term used when a person has certain limitatio…

Special Olympics: How to Volunteer

As part of her blog series on the Special Olympics and their "revolution on inclusion," Geannette Wittendorf will be highlighting different aspects of the games to showcase just how much the organization gives back and makes a positive change in the world.

One way you can get involved with the Special Olympics if by volunteering:

"Volunteers are the backbone of the Special Olympics movement. They are coaches, trainers, officials, event organizers, fundraisers and managers. They can also be unified partners—playing alongside athletes with intellectual disabilities—or fans cheering in the stands." - Special Olympics, Get Involved 

Volunteers of all ages are welcome to get involved with the sports organization, aiming to help athletes and their families who are faced with the challenges of living with mental disabilities.

Volunteering opportunities include:

CoachesTrainersOfficialsEvent OrganizersFundraisersManagersPartners/Fans Anyone who would like to get involved wit…