Rhonda Schwarzkopf Retires After 22 Years
Special Olympics Iowa Director of Sports and Advanced Competitions Rhonda Schwarzkopf is retiring on March 5 after 22 years with Special Olympics Iowa.

Rhonda first joined Special Olympics Iowa in 1998 as an Office Manager. She went on to be Director of Field Services, Director of Training and Outreach, and the Director of Sports and Advanced Competitions. Though Rhonda's responsibilities changed over the years, one thing never did, her desire to always provide more opportunities to the athletes. She was instrumental in implementing the current tennis competition layout at the Special Olympics Iowa Summer Games and expanded the Opening Ceremonies at state-level competitions allowing more athletes to be included.

"I speak for everyone when I say we have been very fortunate to have Rhonda on staff for the last 22 years. Rhonda's wealth of knowledge and dedication to the athletes and Unified partners will be missed," said John Kliegl, Special Olympics Iowa President and CEO.

As Rhonda prepares to move into the next chapter of her life, she is reminded of all of the great experiences she has had over the years. Being Head of Delegation for Team Iowa at the 2010, 2014 and 2018 Special Olympics USA Games and honoring key volunteers while celebrating the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics rank among her favorite experiences.

"I have been so blessed to be surrounded by people who graciously donate their time and talents," shared Rhonda. "Thank you to the athletes, Unified partners, coaches and volunteers who have helped make the last 22 years so enjoyable. It has been very rewarding watching the athletes learn sport-skills and then apply those skills to the year-round events they compete in."

This isn't goodbye, just see you later, as Rhonda plans to attend future Special Olympics Iowa events as a volunteer or spectator and cheer on the athletes and Unified partners. She is especially excited for when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted because it will be a time to celebrate.

"We look forward to seeing Rhonda and Dan's smiling faces as volunteers for years to come," said John.

The Special Olympics Iowa family thanks Rhonda for her years of service and commitment to the mission.

Congratulate Rhonda via e-mail at rschwarzkopf.10@gmail.com.
Esports and Xbox One X Giveaway
Special Olympics Iowa is excited to add esports to our virtual programming. Beginning March 1, members of the Special Olympics Iowa community will be able to put their video gaming skills to the test by competing in basketball, bowling and football esport tournaments.

As we get ready for the esports tournaments to begin, we have a chance for you to win an Xbox One X. To have your name entered in the drawing, fill out the registration form found HERE.

Team Fit & Virtual Fitness Competition
We are over halfway through the Team Fit: New Year, Healthy Me training program. As we shift our focus to finishing the program strong, we are excited to share that we will be holding a virtual fitness competition from February 15 to February 22. We will then be finishing the whole training program with a three-day virtual series on February 24, 25 and 26. The series will include fun social and fitness activities and the big reveal of the spring training program.

You do not have to be participating in the Team Fit: New Year, Healthy Me training program to take part in the Virtual Fitness Competition and Series.

Virtual Fitness Competition: February 15-22
Virtual Fitness Series: February 24-26
2022 Special Olympics USA Games
The 2022 Special Olympics USA Games will be held in Orlando, Florida, June 5 through 12, 2022. The games will feature 4,000 athletes, 10,000 volunteers, 1,500 coaches, and 125,000 fans from all 50 states and up to 15 other countries from North and South America. Athletes will compete in 16 Olympic-style team and individual sports competitions being held at various world-class venues across the Orlando area.

We are excited to announce the Team Iowa allocations for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. Team Iowa will consist of 66 athletes and Unified partners and 18 coaches from athletics, bocce, bowling, cheerleading, flag football, powerlifting, swimming and tennis.

We are now accepting general applications for both athletes and coaches. Athletes and coaches interested in applying for the 2022 USA Games should submit applications to registrations@soiowa.org by June 1, 2021.

#RespectWeek is a week-long celebration that highlights the joys of all abilities and gives individuals an opportunity to share about the importance of inclusion. During the week-long celebration, schools from across the state will be celebrating inclusion in their communities, and Special Olympics Iowa will be hosting four virtual programming opportunities. The virtual programming opportunities will include Elementary Inclusion Hour, SO College Inclusion Hour, Educator's Inclusion Hour, and Middle and High School Inclusion Hour.

Dates: March 1 - 5
LETR Supporter Apparel

Law Enforcement Torch Run supporter apparel is now available for purchase! Order your apparel from a local law enforcement officer or by clicking on the link below. All proceeds go towards supporting Special Olympics Iowa athletes and Unified partners.

Coaches Corner
We are excited to share that Class A Volunteer certification and re-certification can now be completed online in three steps.
  1. Complete the Class A Volunteer Application and background check
  2. Take the Protective Behavior Training and quiz
  3. submit a color photo, passport quality, to classa@soiowa.org