Michigan Special Olympics

Special Olympics is an organization that provides training, physical activities, and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, for example Down Syndrome. Every two years the organization holds Special Olympic Games for its athletes. Programs are designed to foster fitness, friendship, fun, confidence, and self-esteem, and include 32 sports from Alpine skiing to volleyball.

Michigan is proud to have one of the largest Special Olympics programs in the United States, with over 20,679 athletes and counting. Special Olympics Michigan is open to all adults and children with intellectual disabilities, and the athletes’ average age is 27. All levels of athletic ability are welcome because the most important thing is for participants to try their best to unlock their potential. When Special Olympics athletes are not competing they enjoy recreational activities such as canoeing, tug-of-war, broomball, and more.

Special Olympics Michigan is divided geographically into four regions, which are further divided into thirty-nine areas, most of which contain from one to five counties. All areas are highly active. ¬†Area 35, in the Upper Peninsula Region, has its entire new year planned, from basketball, bowling, swimming, and winter games in January of 2013, to a bowling tournament the following December. See the Special Olympics Michigan website for information on other areas’ 2013 schedules as they become available.

All regions are looking forward to the 2013 Worldwide Special Olympic Games in Pyeong Chang, Korea, from 26 January to 6 February 2013. Special Olympics Michigan will be represented in 1K and 500M cross country skiing and slalom and giant slalom snowboarding. Special Olympics Michigan’s State Winter Games will take place 5-8 February 2013 at Grand Traverse Resort, Schuss Village, and Howe Arena in the Traverse City area. Events will include Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, figure skating, and speed skating. Eight hundred athletes along with their six hundred coaches, chaperones and volunteers from over sixty counties are expected to participate.

To enter an athlete into Special Olympics Michigan, call 1-800-644-6404 or email Becky Everitt at everi1rl@cmich.edu. To coach or volunteer, contact the director of your local area.