ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Special Olympics Florida athletes, coaches, volunteers and fans descended on the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort this past weekend for the State Fall Classic. The two-day event, which began Friday, is a state-wide championship for powerlifting, softball, Unified flag football, gymnastics, and cheerleading. An estimated 1,130 athletes competed. This event was free and open to the public, allowing attendees to get a firsthand view of Special Olympics programs, including the Unified Program, Young Athletes Program, and Healthy Athletes Program.
“The Fall Classic is our second largest signature sports event…[It] is one of our favorites…we try to take this opportunity not only to allow great competitions for our athletes, but also to educate them about additional opportunities as well as invite the community in to be part of these new programs.” – Special Olympics Florida President & CEO Sherry Wheelock
Special Olympics Florida also administered approximately 4,000 health screenings during the event. Wheelock noted that Special Olympics Florida administers health screenings at all of their major sporting events throughout the year.
Special Olympics Programs
· Unified Program – Special Olympics prides itself in its mission of inclusion through the vehicle of sports. The Unified Program honors this mission through combining teams with an equal number of athletes with intellectual disabilities to play alongside partners without intellectual disabilities.
· Young Athletes Program – Showcasing the power and endless limits of our determined youth is the goal of the Young Athletes Program. Focused on ages 2 to 7 years old, the Young Athletes Program is a sport and play program for children with and without intellectual disabilities, showing them basic sport skills.
· Healthy Athletes Program – In order to improve athlete’s ability to train and compete, Special Olympics developed the Healthy Athletes program which features free health screenings in eight disciplines. This year, more than 500 health professional volunteers are signed up to perform the athlete screenings.
Florida National News was able to catch up with Special Olympics Florida President & CEO Sherry Wheelock during practice on Friday to discuss her expectations for the weekend. Bookmark this article for the forthcoming video.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | email@example.com