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Youth Games Presented by Nike Embodies Hope

Since 2007, more than 5,000 athletes have participated in this one-day event focused on introducing the basics of popular sports to young people with intellectual disabilities.

Davis Wohlford of Portland opened the NIKE Youth Games last year announcing in his endearing, booming voice, the Special Olympics Oregon oath, which goes like this: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me brave in the attempt!”

Both Wohlford and the Youth Games presented by Nike embodies this oath, inspiring the idea that all kids are made to play, and helping participants realize their potential through sport, leading to healthier, happier, and more successful lives.

Special Olympics Oregon and NIKE, Inc. teams up each year for the Special Olympics Oregon Youth Games at Nike World Headquarters, providing a chance for athletes to get an introduction to Special Olympics Oregon athletic programming and competitions. Over 5,000 athletes have participated in the past.

Wohlford has competed in numerous sports through Special Olympics Oregon in the past. What is his favorite memory? Said Wohlford, “I got to play goalie in the downtown Portland stadium, I was so proud of myself.” What advice would he give a younger generation of athletes with intellectual disabilities, those who could benefit from experiencing Nike Youth Games? He said, “I’d tell them you can do hard things.”

Wohlford said he’s glad he’s participated in Special Olympics Oregon competitions as part of the fabric of his life, “I’m glad I participated in Special Olympics,” he said, “because it challenged me very hard.”

He has since gone on to busy himself with a variety of other things, including running a half marathon, going on backpacking trips, and creating art in the studio he helped found with his mother, North Pole Studio, an art studio inside NW Marine Art Works dedicated to people with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Youth Games 2023 will be held at the Nike World Headquarters on Saturday, September 30th. This event is for youth aged 6 – 18 with intellectual disabilities.  Family members are welcome too.  All participants must be pre-registered.  There is no fee to participate, and registration closes on Sunday, September 24th.  If you have questions, please contact youthgames@soor.org for more information.