Special Olympics Hawai'i E-newsletter
47th Annual State Summer Games Opens This Weekend
Special Olympics athletes from across the state will parade into the Les Murakami Stadium tomorrow, Friday, May 29, 2015 for our 47th annual State Summer Games’ Opening Ceremonies.
The Opening Ceremonies also celebrates the finish line of the 30th annual First Hawaiian Bank Troy Barboza Law Enforcement Torch Run, in which law enforcement officers from around the state will carry the torch, representing the Flame of Hope, symbolizing the opportunities, awareness and hope for people with intellectual disabilities. It is the only Torch Run program in the world to be named after a fallen officer.
This year, athletes will participate in powerlifting, softball, track and field, and swimming. Months of training and tons of fierce determination have prepared more than 1,240 local athletes and coaches from around the state to compete in an Olympic-style competition that celebrates sportsmanship and acceptance. Additionally, Special Olympics Hawai‘i will provide a Young Athlete Program, Healthy Athlete Village and Olympic Town with activities for athletes and families to enjoy throughout the event.
Here are some quick resources to help you this weekend.
Special Olympics Hawai‘i Athletes to Represent the Aloha State at the 2015 World Summer Games
Three Hawai’i athletes have been selected to participate in Special Olympics’ 2015 World Games in Los Angeles, California. Chaunci Cummings, Ikaika Morita-Sunada, and Isaiah Wong from Hawai‘i will represent not only the islands, but the country as members of Special Olympics USA.
This year’s Special Olympics World Summer Games will take place July 25 – August 2, 2015, and will feature athletes from 170 nations competing in 17 sports.
“Special Olympics provides opportunities for athletes -- whether it’s trying a new sport, traveling outside of Hawai‘i for the first time, or meeting people from a different country,” said Nancy Bottelo, Special Olympics Hawai‘i president & CEO. “We are all very proud of Chaunci, Ikaika and Isaiah for their dedication and commitment to preparing for the games, as well as for serving as such excellent ambassadors for Hawai‘i and sharing our aloha spirit with the world.”
Chaunci Cummings will represent the United States in athletics (track and field). A native of Kapa‘a, Kaua‘i, Cummings has participated in Special Olympics for three years. A student at Kapa‘a High School, in her free time Chaunci enjoys doing art projects, cooking with her parents, playing soccer, bowling and swimming. Participating in Special Olympics has been life changing for Chaunci who says it has allowed her to interact with friends who like her for who she is, with no expectations or judgment.
Ikaika Morita-Sunada will compete with Special Olympics USA as a member of the aquatics team. A resident of Kane‘ohe, Ikaika has been involved with Special Olympics for 18 years. In addition to swimming, Morita-Sunada also enjoys ice-skating and playing tennis, volleyball, badminton and golf. When he isn’t playing sports you can find him dancing.
Isaiah Wong is a six-year veteran of Special Olympics Hawai‘i. He will represent his hometown of Kailua-Kona as a member of Special Olympics USA’s powerlifting team. Isaiah has been involved with Special Olympics for six years and also competes in basketball, bocce, bowling, soccer and softball. In his free time, Isaiah enjoys running 5ks with his powerlifting coach and regularly volunteers at the local Humane Society and Therapeutic Riding Ranch where he feeds and brushes horses every Friday.
"I'm very excited and proud to represent our country," says Morita-Sunada. "I hope to make my coaches, teammates, family, co-workers, managers and the USA proud!"
All training and competition opportunities – including the opportunity to participate in the World Games – are provided to athletes and their families at no cost. Special Olympics Hawai‘i is currently accepting tax-deductible donations to help defray costs for the World Games. Donations can be made online at www.specialolympicshawaii.org.
Special Olympics USA will consist of a 491-member delegation, which will represent the United States.
Unified Competition Makes its Debut at HHSAA Track and Field State Championship
For the first time in the state’s history, high school students of all ability levels raced to the track to compete in this year’s Island Movers Track and Field State Championships. Thirteen teams consisting of two regular education and two special education students competed in the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association’s (HHSAA) first-ever Unified Division. The 59th annual event took place Friday and Saturday, May 15-16, 2015 at the War Memorial Stadium on Maui.
“We are excited to celebrate the well-earned accomplishments of our Unified athletes,” said Chris Chun, HHSAA executive director. “Sports is an opportunity for individuals of all backgrounds to be able to come together over something that they love – competition. We could not be more proud to see these athletes who have trained over the last few months recognized for their hard work.”
Unified Teams competed against one another in two events, the Unified 4 x 100 meter relay and the Unified 4 x 400 meter relay. A complete list of results can be found here.
“This competition is a huge step in helping Special Olympics Hawai‘i further its mission of leveling the playing field and creating opportunities of acceptance and inclusion for our athletes with intellectual disabilities,” said Nancy Bottelo, Special Olympics Hawai‘i president and CEO. “For any athlete – but especially for Special Olympics athletes and their families -- competing in a high school state championship is typically something they can only dream about. But thanks to a strong partnership with the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association and their support, this weekend we are thrilled to see that dream become a reality.”
SPONSOR FEATURE: Hawai‘i News Now turns up the volume on Special Olympics
Hawaii News Now turns up the volume on Special Olympics Hawai'i. For years, Hawaii News Now has been one of Special Olympics Hawai'i's mission partners, committing a minimum of $75,000 in airtime to promote events and increase brand awareness for the organization each year. Our partners at the station go above and beyond to put Special Olympics Hawai'i front and center in the public eye on their highly visible KGMB, KHNL and KFVE channels, social media outlets and website.
"Since our inception as Hawaii's largest multimedia company nearly six years ago, we committed ourselves to supporting the athletes who compete in Special Olympics Hawaii. Each year we become more and more inspired by their courage, and competitive spirit. From our standpoint we cannot do enough to support Special Olympics Hawai'i, and their champions! We are most grateful for the opportunity.”
In 2014 alone, Hawaii News Now created and aired PSAs for a total contribution of $105,249. Their anchors have also been great supporters, volunteering their time to emcee our events and their editorial team regularly covers our events and competitions.
"Hawaii News Now supports us in a very special way that allows us to spread awareness and share Special Olympics Hawai'i's programs and events with thousands of viewers," said Nancy Bottelo, president and CEO of Special Olympics Hawai'i. "The countless PSAs and air time they provide have had a direct and significant impact on our organization's fundraising efforts, volunteer recruitment, program participation and community support."
Opening Ceremonies Livestream Presented by Hawaii Independent Energy!
Just because you can’t make it to this year’s Opening Ceremonies doesn’t need to mean you need to miss out on all the fun! Thanks to our friends at Hawaii Independent Energy you can catch the Parade of Athletes and conclusion of this year’s First Hawaiian Bank Troy Barboza Law Enforcement Torch Run online!
Click here to catch the livestream starting Friday, May 29 at 7 p.m.!
No Dinner Plans, No Problem!
Order from Papa Johns Hawaii today, May 28 and mention “SPECIAL OLYMPICS HAWAII” and 25 percent of your purchase will be donated to our athletes! Online, use promo code “17PJHCOM.”
Mahalo City Mill Co. and Simply Organized!
Thanks to their generous shoppers, employees and friends they were able to raise more than $13,000 for our Central, Honolulu and Windward Oahu athletes this year!
Congratulations to Special Olympics Hawai'i athlete, Renee Manfredi who did an amazing performance of the National Anthem and Hawai'i Pono'i at this month’s Hawai'i High School Athletic Association’s Boys Volleyball Finals.
Donate funds or HawaiianMiles to help get our neighbor island athletes to the games!
Mahalo to our Amazing Interns!
This month we had a special mahalo lunch to recognize our two amazing interns – Heather and Harley! Harley just graduated this Spring with honors and a degree in International Relations from Hawaii Pacific University. Heather plans to graduate this fall from Hawaii Pacific University with a Bachelor's Degree in Marine Biology and minor in Business.
HHSAA Track & Field Championships Unified Competition
More photos from this year’s first-ever HHSAA Track & Field Unified competition on Maui!