Special Olympics Wisconsin

By Katie Mangin

FOX Sports Wisconsin


On June 10-11, 2010, FOX Sports Wisconsin was given a special opportunity to help at the Wisconsin Special Olympics State Summer Games in Stevens Point, WI.  The rain started falling early Thursday evening right before the Opening Ceremonies, but organizers and the nearly 2,000 attendees didn�t let that dampen their spirits as the festivities were moved from the Colman Track at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to the Quandt Gym. 


Green Bay Packer linebacker, A.J. Hawk kicked off the evening with words of encouragement followed by an autograph session.  Athletes concluded the ceremonies with a dance party.  After the Opening Ceremonies, the evening continued with a Law Enforcement Celebration Party at the Ramada Stevens Point. 


Friday morning everyone woke up to more rain, forcing outdoor competitions to be cancelled.  My personal highlight from the day was the Young Athletes Program.  This program is for children between the ages of 2-7, and is open to children both with and without cognitive disabilities.  About 50 children participated in a circuit of various activities, such as kicking, walking, running, jumping and throwing.  The program�s goal is to help develop skills that are needed for young athletes to start developing coordination skills, motor tracking skills and to help prepare the young athletes with cognitive disabilities to participate in Special Olympics when they turn 8.


Special thanks to Kelly Kloepping from Special Olympics, the entire Special Olympics staff, Kwik Trip, John Severson, Matt Gourley and Jodi Mittelstaedt from FOX Sports North and FOX Sports Wisconsin for helping create lifetime memories for the athletes, their families, the coaches and the many volunteers.


Congratulations to athletes of all ages!  Although the rain canceled many events, your efforts and hard work didn�t go unrecognized.  We were all very lucky to be able to spend time watching and learning from all of you.  Let the planning and training begin for the 2011 Wisconsin Special Olympic Summer Games! 


Visit http://www.specialolympicswisconsin.org to learn more about Special Olympics Wisconsin programs and check out pictures from the State Games.