Summer Season Recap and Fall Season Preview
The past couple of months have been very busy and exciting times for Special Olympics Oregon (SOOR) athletes, coaches, volunteers, families, and supporters.
It has felt incredible to be back together, watching our athletes showcase their skills and talents on the tracks, courts, courses, and fields.
Our athletes, coaches, volunteers, families, and Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) officers have created an atmosphere that feels incredibly special and inspiring. The entire season has been filled with smiles, laughter, cheers, tears of joy, and of course, sportsmanship!
Special Olympics Oregon welcomed back in-person training and competition for the first time in 28 months with an athletics and bocce regional competition at Spiegleberg Stadium in Medford on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
Although this season has been smaller in participant numbers than typical, which is due to the rebuilding of programs and getting athletes back involved after a long spell of COVID restrictions, SOOR still has not lost its magic. Parents and families have been nothing but positive and so supportive. It’s clearer now more than ever the vital impact SOOR has on our communities across the state.
Fall season is just around the corner! We will have soccer, swimming, volleyball, and bowling. We know a lot of you are looking forward to bowling since historically it has been our largest participation sport. We continue to look forward to seeing our athletes return and our local programs grow.
The 2022 Special Olympics Oregon Summer Season featured 11 total regional competitions in four different sports.
- 4 x athletics regionals (Clackamas, Hermiston, Medford, Salem)
- 3 x bocce regionals (Hillsboro, Medford, Salem)
- 2 x golf regionals (Oregon City and Prineville)
- 2 x softball regionals (Corvallis and Hillsboro)
As of late July, SOOR had received 1,025 athlete applications to participate (aka Medical Forms) and close to 800 Class A Volunteer Applications. These numbers continue to grow daily. Class A volunteers fill the critical roles of coaches and Local Program Management Teams Members.
26 out of 30 of our local programs (LPs) returned to sports training during the summer season.
24 out of those 26 LPs have participated in regional competitions while the remaining two out of the 26 programs decided to use this season for small one day events or recreational programming and to recruit their athletes back with an eye on returning to regional competition next season.
We are hopeful that the remaining four local programs, that did not participate this past season, will be ready to join us starting in the fall. Our goal is by Summer 2023 that all local programs will be back offering full seasons of training and competition in the various sports of their choice.
We had close to 700 athletes return to compete this season with a further 70 athletes returning to just train and/or attend practices (not competing in regionals).
Although in-person events are now taking place, we have also continued to grow our virtual programs. More than 100 athletes have participated in SOOR Esports presented by PlayStation and/or in our SOOR Active on-line wellness community classes. We look forward to continuing to offer these opportunities as a way to supplement and enhance the overall athlete experience even as we shift more focus back to in-person sports training and competition.