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Governor Tom Wolf and Other Leaders Joined Special Olympics PA Athletes for a Reception & Bocce Competitions

Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) hosted the first ever Unified Government Sports Challenge in the East Rotunda of the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, PA on Monday, March 13th. The challenge paired various local organizational leaders, government officials and legislative leaders (Unified Partners) with SOPA athletes for a fun, competitive and social experience.

SOPA athletes and Unified Partners were divided into 2 groups of 4 teams, for a total of 8 teams. Each team had 4 - 8 members. Competition rounds were 12 minutes long with five minute transition periods in between. Each group played 4 rounds of bocce in order to determine a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place team in each division. Teams competed in a round robin format; and the challenge featured food, drinks, camaraderie and friendly competition.


Click here to view more event photos courtesy of Photography by Dane

Click here for more photos by Commonwealth Media Services

Some of the Sports Challenge attendees included:

  • SOPA’s President and CEO, Matt Aaron;
  • Special Olympics Chief Inspiration Officer, Athlete and Board Member, Loretta Claiborne;
  • Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf;
  • Representative Sheryl Delozier, PA House of Representatives;
  • Representative Mary Jo Daley, PA House of Representatives;
  • Pedro A. Rivera, PA Secretary of Education
  • Representative Lynda Schlegel Culver, PA House of Representatives;
  • Jeremy N. Kiehl, Executive Director, House Finance Committee;
  • Marcus Brown, Director, Homeland Security;
  • Glenn Miller, Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth Libraries;
  • Dr. Wil Del Pilar, Deputy Secretary for Post-Secondary and Higher Education;
  • David DeNotaris, Executive Director, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR);
  • Joe Strechay, Director Bureau of Blindness & Visual Services, OVR;      
  • Kathy Manderino, Secretary, Department of Labor & Industry;
  • Jake Armstrong, System Vice President, Finance, Geisinger Health System;
  • Chris Comisac, Capitolwire;
  • John Finnerty, CNHI Harrisburg Bureau;
  • Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio/KDKA;
  • RJ Harris, WHP580;
  • Matt Barcaro, WGAL-8; and
  • SOPA - Area M Special Olympics Athletes (*Area M serves athletes in Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry and Northern York Counties)

About Unified Sports:

Special Olympics Unified Sports® creates an opportunity for people without intellectual disabilities to join in the sports experience by playing on a team with athletes with intellectual disabilities. Not only do the players all have fun, but attitude change and transformation happens on the playing field and the experiences create lifelong friendships.

Unified Sports® combines approximately equal numbers of Special Olympics Athletes and athletes without intellectual disabilities (called Partners) on sports teams for training and competition. Age and ability matching of athletes and partners is defined on a sport-by-sport basis.