Special Olympics Iowa has made the very difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Mid-Winter Tournament scheduled for March 13 - 14 in Iowa City due to concerns related to the spread of the coronavirus. While this news is incredibly disappointing for all of us, the health and safety of our athletes, volunteers, staff, and partners is our top priority.
We have been closely monitoring the evolving situation with coronavirus, and we have been coordinating with Special Olympics, Inc. and Special Olympics North America, the Iowa Dept. of Health, and various health professionals. We were working internally and with these various partners to develop and implement precautionary steps that would have allowed us to proceed safely with the tournament. Until Sunday, there were no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Iowa. However, 3 confirmed cases in Johnson County were announced by Governor Reynolds Sunday, with test results pending for others and more cases expected in the coming days and weeks.
We serve a population where many are at a heightened risk (age, compromised immune systems, and/or medically fragile), and our competitions require people to travel from all parts of the state to convene in venues and engage in sport. With this news about confirmed and suspected cases, we no longer believe that we can prudently proceed with the tournament and be sure we are providing a safe and healthy environment, regardless of what precautionary steps and/or preventative measures we might implement.
While canceling events is truly disappointing for athletes who have trained for months to compete – as well as for the volunteers, family, friends and our staff and board who support them and look forward to cheering for them – we know that our love of sport doesn’t compare to the importance of protecting the health and safety of all involved.
If you have any questions as it pertains to the Mid-Winter Tournament cancellation, please email
President & CEO
Special Olympics Iowa