The 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games are upon us! In three short days, 20 Special Olympics New Mexico athletes and their coaches will land in Lincoln Nebraska with one purpose in mind – to compete with all of their heart. They will participate in one of the largest multi-sport events in our nation, and it will be an INCREDIBLE sports experience. It will also be much more.
As you read this, 110 Law Enforcement officers and 9 Special Olympics athletes are running the Flame of Hope through 70 Nebraska communities, promoting awareness and honoring those athletes who will be competing. These Guardians of our Flame will finish their Final Leg by running into Opening Ceremonies in an emotional lighting of the cauldron to officially begin our country’s second National Games.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, 50 top education professionals, policy makers, and youth leaders will gather at the Governor’s Mansion to focus on Special Olympics role in education reform.
A National Youth Activation Summit will address how to advocate for social justice through Special Olympics initiatives, programs, activities, and collaborations – our nation’s youth committing to inclusion as a life-long value.
An inaugural 2010 Special Olympics National Education Conference will engage teachers and students with the goal of building knowledge, skills and attitudes to better enable them to motivate and educate students with and without intellectual disabilities throughout our nation.
Special Olympics will host a U.S. Games Health Symposium addressing health issues facing Special Olympics athletes and others with intellectual disabilities. The symposium will involve athletes, family members, advocates, policy makers, health and social service providers, government representatives, researchers, and corporate representatives.
I could go on. There is much more important work that will take place at these Games, but the main thing, which is ALWAYS the main thing in this movement is this – the Special Olympics athletes competing in these Games will provide to our country a glimpse of something that everyone is longing for – hope, unity, and peace. Through these 3,000 athletes we will see more clearly who we can be and how it could be if we were just a little more like them.