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Minnesota Special Olympics Athletes Head To Greece

  • Synopsis: Published: 2011-06-20 - Minnesotans join 315 athletes and 125 coaches from Special Olympics Team USA as they journey to Greece - Special Olympics Minnesota.

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Special Olympics Minnesota Athletes, Coaches Head To Greece For World Summer Games.

Minnesotans join 315 athletes and 125 coaches from Special Olympics Team USA as they journey to Greece for the country's largest sporting event of the year

After months of rigorous training and preparation, eight Special Olympics Minnesota athletes and two coaches will depart Saturday for the most spectacular sporting event happening this year - Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011, where they will compete as part of Special Olympics Team USA alongside 7,000 athletes from nearly 180 nations, June 25 - July 4.

The Minnesotans will join 315 athletes from every state and the District of Columbia and 125 coaches and managers on Team USA. The team will meet in Baltimore, Md. on June 18 and then depart for Greece. In Athens, the birthplace of modern sport, the talents and skills of Special Olympics athletes will remind us what the World Games are really about, where all participants are winners in their struggle for respect, inclusion and unity. This event will draw more than 25,000 volunteers, 3,000 event officials and thousands of families, spectators and journalists from every continent.

"Through hard work, dedication and commitment, Special Olympics Team USA athletes will be the most inspiring competitors in the world," said Special Olympics North America President and Managing Director, Bob Gobrecht. "Competing in the World Games is a chance of a lifetime for many of our athletes, but also a chance for the rest of the world to witness the accomplishments and victories of people with intellectual disabilities."

Minnesotans on Team USA include Jake Sawyer, 22, a swimmer from Champlin; fellow swimmer Amy Holty, 31, of Rochester; track & field athlete Kristina Fritz, 33, of Woodbury; bocce player Tyler DeVries, 25, of Underwood; Blaine Cox, 24, a bowler from North Mankato; equestrian athlete Matthew Schoenbauer, 14, of New Prague; and tennis players Richard Martin, 28, of Hibbing and Katie VandenBosch, 21, of Farmington. The athletes are joined by Minnesota track and field coach Corinne Schattschneider of Perham and golf coach Nancy Schwindel of Richmond. Special Olympics Minnesota is raising funds to offset the expenses of the Minnesota athletes through a sponsor-an-athlete campaign at

Since the Special Olympics Team USA March training camp in San Diego, these athletes have been training at home. Athletes who were selected for Special Olympics Team USA qualified through their own state Special Olympics programs.

"We are extremely proud of the Minnesota athletes and coaches headed to Greece as part of Team USA," said David Dorn, Special Olympics Minnesota President and CEO. "Through their dedication and determination, we know they will not only do Minnesota proud but be amazing ambassadors for our country as well. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these athletes to show their incredible athletic talent on the world stage."

This will be the 13th Special Olympics World Summer Games. Every two years, thousands of Special Olympics athletes worldwide come together to showcase their athletic skills and celebrate the spirit of Special Olympics. Alternating between Summer Games and Winter Games, Special Olympics World Games bring public attention to the talents and capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities, helping to change attitudes and break down barriers.

Sponsors of Special Olympics Team USA are Procter & Gamble, as the Proud Sponsor of Moms, the American Federation of Teachers and MTM Recognition. Special thanks go to Champion, the official performance apparel supplier of Special Olympics Team USA. Loudmouth is a product supplier of Special Olympics Team USA's golf team.

About Special Olympics Minnesota - Special Olympics Minnesota offers children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round sports training and competition. Through Special Olympics' athletic, health and leadership programs, people with intellectual disabilities transform themselves, their communities and the world.

About Special Olympics - Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 3.7 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in places like China and from regions like the Middle East to the community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood's backyard. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics;;, and

Related Information:

  1. Special Olympics Minnesota Athletes Selected to Compete at 2011 World Summer Games
  2. GB Prepares for 2011 Athens Special Olympics

Information from our 2011 Special Olympics: Athens Greece section - (Full List).

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