Continuing with tradition, hundreds of athletes, coaches, families, and friends representing all corners of Pennsylvania travel to Johnstown, PA for Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s third-largest state-wide event, the Winter Games. During the course of the event, more than 300 athletes and 150 coaches participate in three days of exciting winter sports – competing in alpine and cross-country skiing, figure and speed skating, snowshoeing and individual skills events. Weeks of hard work and dedication in training is rewarded as athletes are cheered on and supported during competition by more than 1,500 enthusiastic volunteers.
This event requires volunteers from around the state to serve as officials, athlete escorts, award presenters, and in various other ways. Spectators are welcome to visit any of the competition venues and cheer on the athletes.
Winter Games will be held from February 9 - 11, 2014 in Johnstown, PA.
View Our 2014 Winter Games Press Release
View Our Event Media Alert
View Our Winter Games Tentative Schedule
View Our Winter Games HOD Handbook
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Athletes in this year’s Special Olympics Pennsylvania joined volunteers Sunday night to light the Winter Games’ torch at Central Park in downtown Johnstown. Photo Credit: Tribune-Democrat/David Hurst
More than 325 athletes and 135 coaches traveled to the 2013 Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) Winter Games in Johnstown, PA from February 10th - 12th. This 37th Annual statewide competition returned to the Johnstown area for the 12th consecutive year and featured competition in alpine and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, speed skating and figure skating.
Batman, aka Michael McLaughlin (center), runs to shore with others after taking the Polar Plunge on Saturday at the Quemahoning Reservoir to benefit Special Olympics PA. Photo Credit: Tribune-Democrat/Pat Bucknowski
Kicking the 2013 Winter Games off a day in advance on Saturday, February 9, 2013, 450 brave individuals were “freezin’ for a reason” as they took the plunge into the cold waters of Quemahoning Reservoir in Boswell, PA during the Laurel Highlands Plunge. The event raised approximately $60,000 for nearly 20,000 Special Olympics PA athletes.
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Pictured from left to right: SOPA President and CEO Matt Aaron; Somerset County athletes and 2013 Spirit Award recipients Laura and Donny Penrod; and Montgomery County athlete and 2010 Spirit Award recipient Brendan McOwen.
The Winter Games Spirit Award acknowledges the outstanding energy, determination and enthusiasm that it takes for an athlete to get to Winter Games. While Special Olympics PA (SOPA) have traditionally only honored one athlete for this award each year, it recognized an exceptional “couple” of athletes on Monday, February 11th.
Donny and Laura Penrod, a married couple from Somerset County, have shown support for each other throughout the year, and have been able to achieve great things as a pair. For example, they have demonstrated a continuing effort to improve the quality of their lives through exercise and healthy eating, which has resulted in the total loss of 80 pounds between the two of them! This weight loss has not only served as an inspiration to their coaches and fellow athletes, but has also enabled them to do their best in their Winter Games sport of snowshoeing. Their race times have improved, they show up to practices on time, they are ready to compete and full of positive energy.