Thursday, July 12, 2007

Training Camp News Release

(at left, SOAK President and CEO Jim Balamaci interviews with Channel 11)
Anchorage, Alaska The Alaska delegation of Special Olympics Team USA will join fellow teammates on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN from July 12-16 for the 2007 Special Olympics Team USA Training Camp. The Team USA Training Camp starts the 100 day countdown before Team USA athletes and coaches travel to the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China this October. The eyes of the world will be on Shanghai as it celebrates the true power of sport and the Special Olympics belief that sport can help build a world full of joy, respect and acceptance; a world without bias, prejudice or false preconceptions.

Five athletes and a coach from Anchorage, Juneau, Valdez and the Mat-Su Valley will attend the training camp. Alaska athletes have trained in their home communities and at the Special Olympics Alaska Athlete Center in Mountain View.

“Our athletes have worked hard to prepare for competition in Shanghai,” said Jim Balamaci, President and CEO of Special Olympics Alaska. “Their participation is possible because of tremendous support from their families and our statewide community of volunteers and donors.”

Athletes and coaches will participate in team building activities, as well as learn about Chinese culture. Featured events for the camp include a Unified Softball game hosted by country superstar and Team USA Spokesperson Jo Dee Messina who will also perform a small acoustic concert, and a “Night in Shanghai” which presents Chinese language and culture to the Team USA delegation through food, clothing and decor. The week will be topped off with a luncheon and uniform-unveiling fashion show presenting the clothing the athletes will be seen wearing throughout their trip to Shanghai.

For Team USA, consisting of nearly 399 athletes and 150 coaches/management team members, this training camp is the first official time the athletes will meet their World Games coach and other athletes from all over the nation who will be joining them on their trip to World Games. The camp will offer a variety of coaches meetings and sport-specific training in aquatics, athletics, basketball, bocce, bowling, cycling, equestrian, golf, gymnastics, powerlifting, roller skating, sailing, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.

This is the last time Team USA members will meet as a whole before leaving for Shanghai on September 27.

The 2007 Special Olympics Team USA Training Camp would not be possible without partners like Bank of America. A long-standing supporter of Special Olympics, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation donated $500,000 to assist in the coaching and training of Team USA athletes and fund their transportation to Shanghai for the World Summer Games.

Additional Team USA sponsors include Columbia Sportswear, FedEx, Midwest Trophy and American Federation of Teachers.

The Special Olympics World Summer Games is the largest international sporting event to happen in 2007 bringing together nearly 7,500 athletes from 165 countries with support from tens of thousands of volunteers, family members and spectators, and offers a world stage to showcase the Special Olympics movement on a new level, celebrating the abilities and accomplishments of people with intellectual disabilities and fostering a new global vision of acceptance.

Special Olympics Alaska is an accredited program of Special Olympics Inc., a global organization that has provided sports training and competition to people with intellectual disabilities since 1968. In Alaska, Special Olympics serves more than 1,500 athletes in 18 communities statewide through local community training programs. The Summer Games is one of four major annual Special Olympics Alaska events held throughout the year. Other events include Fall Tournament (golf and bocce) in September, Bowling Tournament in November and Winter Games (alpine skiing, cross country skiing, figure skating, floor hockey, snow boarding, snow shoeing and speed skating in March.

For more information about Special Olympics programs and volunteer opportunities, call SO-AK at (907) 250-9535.

Special Olympics Alaska Delegation

Name Hometown Sporting Event

Sam Brown Anchorage Coach

Whitney Davis Juneau Athletics

Melanie Flowers Mat-Su Valley Aquatics

Jeremy Hartman Mat-Su Valley Aquatics

Robert “Bobby” Hill Anchorage Powerlifting

Trishia Hoadley Valdez Athletics

1 comment:

jack walsh, naknek said...

Thanks for all the updates and information. I am hoping that all the athletes, staff, and guests are enjoying their time in China. Good luck in the competitions and safe travels. jack walsh, naknek