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On Saturday, April 29th, Special Olympics Philadelphia held our 40th Annual Philadelphia Spring Games at William Penn Charter (3000 West School House Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19144) and it was an absolute success! We had a record-breaking event on numerous levels, including the number of counties hosted (six), the number of athletes competing, and celebrity and political representatives! It looked like it would be a cloudy day when it started, but as we were about to start the sun came out.
The day started at 8:00 am at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with the Law Enforcement Torch Run. The Flame of Hope was escorted by law enforcement from the Upper Gwynedd Township Police Department, Philadelphia Police Department, lead by Deputy Commissioner Dennis Wilson. Members carried the Flame of Hope from the Philadelphia Museum of Art to William Penn Charter. At 9:00 am, Opening Ceremonies began enthusiastically as athlete Allie Rutizer, and Sports Anchor for Comcast SportsNet, John Boruk emceed the morning. To lead the parade of athletes, West Powelton Drum Squad lead the way before we introduced athletes from Bethlehem City, Chester County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and of course, Philadelphia County. Besides athletic teams, basketball teams, and tennis teams, we also welcomed our Young Athletes, Gymnastics Team, and athletes from School of the Future and some of our bocce athletes. Athletes in the parade were escorted by members of the Temple University Football Team. After the athletes took their seats, a remarkable edition of the National Anthem was sung by a parent, Denine Aversa as Frankford High Schools Junior ROTC Color Guard lead by Cadet Kevin Olsen presented the colors.
Afterward, Director of Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia, Britt Kleine, spoke and introduced Mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, who gave words of his support of Special Olympics, appreciation for everyone involved, and encouragement for the athletes about to compete. After Mayor Kenney spoke, Councilman Derek Green spoke and presented Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia with a Citation from the City of Philadelphia to honor the 40th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Spring Games. Opening Ceremony ended with the Flame of Hope being brought in by the Law Enforcement Torch Run and escorted by, retired professional boxer, Bernard Hopkins. After the excitement of the Flame of Hope arriving at the 40th Annual Philadelphia Spring Games, Allie and John kept the energy high by proclaiming the Games Open!
Athletes parted ways to partake in athletics (track and field), basketball, and tennis competition. As competition started, our VIP guests got to participate in a Unified Bocce Experience with some of our community bocce athletes as well as athletes from our Interscholastic Unified School, School of the Future. Two courts were set up and after a brief training for our VIP guests, the experience was on its way! Everyone who participated had a great time and athletes played alongside our VIP guests. Our Young Athletes who are not old enough to compete as an official Special Olympics athlete, showed off their skills at William Penn Charter’s playground as they completed an obstacle course that was set up especially to show off their skills.
Besides competition, the Olympic Village offered a place for athletes to relax and do some fun activities while waiting for their turn to compete. In addition, sponsor PriceWaterhouseCoopers was at the grill, firing up some burgers, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches for spectators as well as selling some beverages and souvenirs. The day ended with athletes being awarded medals in order of their finish at their respective competition site. Everyone left happy, and for those athletics and tennis athletes – a little tanner!
Thank you to the coaches, assistant coaches, and families who helped all of our athletes prepare for the 40th Annual Philadelphia Spring Games! A huge thank you to all of the volunteers who made this day possible!
|Bad News Bears|
Via Kristen Applegate YouTube channel on behalf of Temple University
(Philadelphia, PA, April 10, 2015) – More than 250 Special Olympic Pennsylvania athletes, 300 volunteers and 50 coaches, from Philadelphia and the surrounding area, will migrate to the William Penn Charter School, located at 3000 W. School House Lane, on Saturday, April 18th, for the 35th Annual Spring Games Competition. Athletes will compete in athletics (track and field), basketball and tennis.
The 2015 Spring Games will kick off with local members of Law Enforcement running with the Flame of Hope from the Art Museum to Penn Charter School. The Torch is expected to arrive at 9:00a.m., prior to Opening Ceremonies. The Ceremonies will include a parade of athletes, special guest speakers, and the lighting of the cauldron with Games immediately following and taking place until 3:30 p.m.
This year, through a new partnership, Maramont Corporation is donating lunches, snacks and refreshments for over 500 athletes, volunteers and coaches attending the 2015 Philadelphia Spring Games. The Maramont Corporation supplies pre-packaged food meals to various city agencies, provides lunches for the Philadelphia School District, and operates as a subsidiary of Prepared Meal Holdings, Inc.
Beyond competition and Opening Ceremonies, the Spring Games will feature a family-friendly Olympic Town that will provide entertainment for all. Members of the community are invited to join the festivities with their friends and families to experience the joy that sports provide for Special Olympics Pennsylvania athletes.
About Special Olympics Pennsylvania
Special Olympics Pennsylvania provides year-round training and competition in 21 Olympic-type sports to nearly 20,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities or closely related developmental disabilities. For more information about how SOPA inspires greatness, visit our Web site at www.specialolympicspa.org.
The sun, along with hundreds of athletes, coaches, volunteers and fans, came out on Saturday to participate in the 2014 Philadelphia Spring Games! 2014 Spring Games: A Winning Event, was a beautiful day filled with laughter, joy and competition as athletes from around Pennsylvania came together to compete in their respective sports. Putting their hard work, training and dedication to the test, athletes competed for the added glory of winning a Special Olympics medal.
The Opening Ceremonies saw athletes joined by coaches and volunteers parade across the grandstands as spectators cheered them on. Law Enforcement was also out in full force supporting our great cause as they completed the final leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run into the Games carrying the Flame of Hope, which led to the 2014 Spring Games being declared open by Global Messenger, Lisa Barbour.
Competitions in basketball, tennis, track and field and gymnastics kept our athletes busy and the spectators in awe throughout the day. A unique feature of this year’s Games was the Unified Basketball game that saw Special Olympic athletes joined by guest players from the University of Pennsylvania football team, as well as Dr. Arthur Evans and his deputy commissioner, Mr. David Jones. This wonderful group played in a friendly, yet fast-paced and exciting game of basketball to help kick off the Games! This Unified Basketball game was a perfect example of how sport can provide joy to everyone, together.
The day was absolutely marvelous and Philadelphia could not have asked for a better event! We would like to thank all of the athletes, coaches, volunteers and fans for participating in the day’s festivities and events, and for making it such an incredible day to remember! We look forward to an even bigger and better Games next Spring and wish everyone the best of luck in their competitions in the meantime!