Earlier this month 300 young athletes and 400 Nike employee volunteers came together in person, for the first time since 2019 for Youth Games presented by Nike, inspiring participants to achieve their potential through play and sport.

We were joined by an incredible roster of Nike athletes, including Paralympic triathlete Sarah Reinertsen, Olympic sprinter/hurdler Gail Devers, professional beach volleyball player Sara Hughes and Paralympic sprinter Blake Leeper — as the participants learned the fundamentals of their chosen sport. 

"This fall will be my 37th year doing Special Olympics. Having Randy Adams as my softball coach helped me make new friends that it’s a great way to meet friends nobody is left out on the sidelines anyone can be an Athlete."
- Irene, Washington County Athlete

Fall Season

Athletes are back in-person and training in preparation for Fall Season competition.
At over 30 mph Chris Baker from Yamhill breaks the pin
Klamath County Bowling Practice
Benton County warming up for soccer
Union County athletes working with their coach on their swimming techniques
Lincoln County Volleyball Team working on their volleys

Special Olympics Oregon (SOOR), Oregon’s premier sports organization for individuals with intellectual disabilities, hosted a record-breaking 2022 Plane Pull fundraiser – a national fan favorite challenge for supporters of the Special Olympics movement. 

In its 8th year in Oregon, the Plane Pull presented by Subaru was held at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon on Saturday, September 10th. This unique and thrilling event challenged teams of 10 ‘Pullers’ to face off against a 40,000-pound NASA Gulfstream II Shuttle Simulator. Teams competed for the fastest time in pulling the aircraft 50-feet across the tarmac, with trophies for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awarded to teams in two divisions. In addition to Plane Pull presenting sponsor Subaru, gold-level sponsors Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum and Outfront Media also gave major contributions to support the event. 

The accelerated growth of Oregon's Plane Pull can largely be attributed to SOOR's recent relationship with Subaru, and the large impact it has had on widespread marketing of the event. Said Scott Friesen, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships, “working alongside Subaru to host Plane Pull these last two years has added tremendous value to the events reputation and visibility. Prior to 2021, not many people outside of Yamhill County knew what Plane Pull was. With the support of the Subaru family we've been able to reach all new audiences, and bring more than 50 new teams to experience Plane Pull!” 
“I look forward to Plane Pull every year – and based on the explosive growth we’ve seen, I’m not the only one! It’s fun, festive, and a great way to wind down summer. The last few years, I’ve been on the back end helping with the event, but I’m excited to be on a team with our Board of Directors and athletes this year! I’m fairly competitive (ok, really competitive), so I’m hoping we can take the lead in fundraising and plane pulling. One of the things I love most is being at sports events or competitions that bring our supporters, athletes, volunteers, staff, and board together. There just isn’t a better family than Special Olympics!” 
- Britt Oase, Special Olympics Oregon CEO

Coach Education

SOOR Coaches’ Education: Our First In-person Sport Specific Training - Soccer 

Special Olympics Oregon (SOOR) and Oregon Youth Soccer Association (OYSA) joined forces to provide local program and Unified Champion Schools (UCS) coaches with formal soccer coaches’ training. With identical training opportunities offered Saturday October 13th in Beaverton and Saturday October 24th in Bend, we saw 22 dedicated SOOR coaches develop into stronger coaches and make even stronger connections with community and school-based peers. 
Coaches started in the classroom setting with instruction provided by OYSA’s Executive Director, Nelson Larson. Larson presented the U.S. Soccer Grassroots curriculum, detailing the latest and greatest in soccer coaching philosophy such as "Play, Practice, Play.” This coaching philosophy empowers the athletes and parallels with Special Olympics philosophy with an athlete-centered coaching approach and fun at its core! 
Following the Grassroots portion of the classroom session, participants reviewed SOOR-specific history and programming with the leadership of Cindy Miguel, (Director of Sports and Coach Education) and Joslynn Bigelow (Director of Unified Champion Schools) who teamed up to present the flow of the soccer season in October competitions and State Games coming this November. It was nice to have both community-based and school-based representation from diverse locations and a wide range of experiences. 
The training went from the classroom to the field of play as all the trainees put the learning into action with several Pacific University athletes and unified partners in Beaverton and a few students from Mountain View High School in Bend. Additionally in Bend, to cover numbers, coaches served as athletes and unified partners, experiencing the “play, practice, play” model from the athlete/unified player perspective. Being live, in-person with real situations and decision-making opportunities was welcomed and refreshing for everyone. 
In attendance in Beaverton, Assistant Principal/Athletic Director for Wilsonville High School, Joshua Davis reflected on the training stating, "We work hard to give all students the full athletic experience … This is more than just teaching kids how to play soccer – it includes teaching kids how to work as a team, communicate with others, share, accept and appreciate uniqueness in others, and how to support people who range in ability. [We are] teaching people how to be positive community members and continual learners."

Congratulations to all our first, in-person trained soccer coaches! We can’t wait to see you all at Fall State Games at Providence Park this November 19th and 20th! 
Earlier this month we celebrated National Coaches Day highlighting one of our amazing coaches Mandy Dyer. 

Mandy has served our Special Olympics Oregon athletes for over 11 years, coaching swimming, serving as a key volunteer for Benton County and most notably, Mandy is serving the sport of Bocce, having attended 3 consecutive USA Games, as a unified partner in 2014 in New Jersey, and as Head Coach in both the 2018 Seattle and 2022 Orlando Competitions.

 “Seeing all the athletes grow in their sport and watching them build relationships within and outside of the organization has made me very proud.”  
- Mandy Dyer
Chocolate Bar Drive - Coming Soon!
During the months of November and December 2022, Rocket stores will be running a chocolate drive in approximately 350 locations across California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado where you will be able to purchase an assortment of $1 chocolate bars and have a portion of the proceeds go towards supporting the local chapter of the Special Olympics.
Our Mission
Special Olympics Oregon provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children, youth and adults living with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.