OKLAHOMA CITY, OK. — Special Olympics Oklahoma will kick off their 50th anniversary with the annual State Winter Games January 10 through 12. Nearly 2,700 Special Olympics Athletes are expected to compete in Winter Games this year on the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman and surrounding communities.
Athletes who have qualified in area competitions will come from all over the state of Oklahoma to compete at the state level in Basketball, Bowling, Unified® Bowling, Swimming, Volleyball and Unified® Volleyball.
Oklahoma’s first Special Olympics event was an athletics competition at the University of Tulsa in 1969. For 50 years, Special Olympics Oklahoma has benefitted citizens with intellectual disabilities; all through the power of sport.
Today, Special Olympics Oklahoma benefits 11,600 athletes and is supported by over 10,000 volunteers and thousands of sponsors, donors and volunteers conducting more than 140 sports competitions and training clinics every year.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver, daughter of Joseph and Rose Kennedy and founder of Special Olympics, was a pioneer in the global fight for rights and acceptance for people with intellectual disabilities.
Eunice’s sister Rosemary had an intellectual disability. The two sisters grew up playing all sorts of sports with their family. But, back then, there were limited sports programs for someone like Rosemary.
At the Opening Ceremony of the inaugural Chicago Special Olympics, she stated that the event proved “a very fundamental fact — that children with intellectual disabilities can be exceptional athletes and that “through sports they can realize their potential for growth.”
“Let me win, and if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,” Shriver stated at the ceremony.
The Oklahoma Special Olympics Winter Games 2019 Schedule of Events:
THURSDAY, JANUARY 10
9 a.m.: Competition – Swimming @ Mitch Park Family YMCA, Edmond.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 11
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Competition – Volleyball Unified® Team @ OU Sarkey’s Fitness Center
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Competition – Volleyball Skills @ OU Sarkey’s Fitness Center, Norman.
1 – 4 p.m.: Competition – Traditional Singles Bowling – Session 2 @ AMF Boulevard, Holiday Lanes, AMF Windsor, Fire Lake, Planet Bow, El Reno Bowl l & Heritage Lanes
7 – 10 p.m.: Opening Ceremonies Victory Celebration & Dance @ Fellowship Church, 3801 Journey Parkway, Norman.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 12
9 – 11 a.m.: Young Athletes – “Stars of the Future”
@ OU Sarkey’s Fitness Center – Dance Studio
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.: Competition – Team Basketball @ OU Sarkey’s Fitness Center
2 – 4 p.m.: Competition – Individual Skills Basketball @ OU Sarkey’s Fitness Center
9:00 a.m. – Noon: Competition – Unified® DOUBLES & TEAM Bowling – All Ages @ Heritage Lanes & Holiday Lanes
Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics by making a donation of $50 and get your choice of a limited-edition commemorative 50th Anniversary Gold Pin or Gold Coin during the $50 for 50 Campaign.
For more information, visit sook.org or call 918-481-1234.