1,000 Athletes and Coaches from Across NYS to Compete in Six Winter Sports
Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman today announced that Rochester will host the New York State Winter Games Feb. 22 and 23. The Games will bring approximately 1,000 athletes and coaches to the area to compete in six winter sports: Alpine & Cross Country Skiing, Figure Skating, Floor Hockey, Snowboarding, and Snowshoeing.
Special Olympics New York athletes train year-round and compete in a series of local events in order to qualify for State Games. It is highly competitive – athletes attending from throughout New York state next month have outplayed more than 30,000 of their peers in floor hockey and more than 2,000 of their peers in the five remaining sports.
“The opportunity to compete in Winter Games motivates our athletes all year, and we are so happy to be celebrating their achievements in partnership with the Rochester community,” said Hengsterman, a Rochester native. “The Games are truly a shared accomplishment between our organization and the host community, which plays a leading role in attracting volunteers, raising funds, and promoting the event to ensure its success, not only for Special Olympics New York athletes and their families but for all those who attend. Thank you to our many local organizers and supporters throughout Monroe County.”
Honorary Chair of the 2019 Winter Games is Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. The Games Organizing Committee is led by Co-chairs Dennis Mullen, president and founder of The Mullen Group, and Maggie Brooks, vice president of strategic initiatives for the Regional Transit Service.
“We are thrilled to host the Special Olympics New York Winter Games in Monroe County once again,” said County Executive Dinolfo. “The Winter Games give us an opportunity to highlight what makes our community special, but more importantly, to highlight the bravery and perseverance of the incredible athletes who compete. It has been inspiring to get to know many of our local athletes and their families as an Honorary Chair, and I look forward to welcoming our visiting athletes at the Games in February.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome the Special Olympics New York Winter Games back to Rochester,” said Don Jeffries, president & CEO of Visit Rochester. “It is an honor for our community to roll out the welcome mat for these amazing athletes, their coaches and families. We look forward to seeing the Special Olympics New York Winter Games return to Rochester for another wonderful weekend of competition.”
Volunteers are still needed during competitions Saturday, Feb. 23, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Opportunities include set-up, food service, starters, timers, social media ambassadors and fans. Volunteers are asked to register online or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Riverside Convention Center will serve as the central location for the Winter Games and host the Floor Hockey competitions as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. The Games will also take place at Swain Resort (Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding), Genesee Valley Sports Complex (Figure Skating), Bristol Mountain Ski Resort (Cross Country Skiing), and Cobbs Hill Park (Snowshoe).
The Rochester community has a rich history with Special Olympics, dating back to 1979 when the SUNY College at Brockport hosted the International Special Olympics World Summer Games, which featured famous sports figures such as Muhammad Ali, Rafer Johnson, Hank Aaron and Bobby Orr as well as many celebrities including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christopher Reeve, Phil Donahue, Sally Struthers, and Susan St. James. Special Olympics Founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, her husband Sargent Shriver and her brother Ted Kennedy spoke during the opening ceremonies.
About Special Olympics New York
Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving nearly 68,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with nearly 150 schools statewide to offer unified sports. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. Learn more at www.specialolympicsNY.org and #SpecialOlympicsNY.