Continuing with tradition, hundreds of athletes, coaches, families, and friends representing all corners of Pennsylvania participate in Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s third-largest state-wide event, the Winter Games. During the course of the event, more than 350 athletes and 130 coaches participate in three days of exciting winter sports – competing in alpine and cross-country skiing, 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 1,200 enthusiastic volunteers.
Winter Games 2017 will take place from January 29 - 31.
The Holiday Inn Express in Donegal, PA offers a discounted rate for SOPA families of $89.00 per night. Interested families must call the hotel direct and mention"Special Olympics Winter Games" to get the rate; discounted reservations cannot be obtained online.
More than 500 athletes and coaches from throughout Pennsylvania competed in the 2016 Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) Winter Games held in Seven Springs and Johnstown, PA from February 7-9th. This statewide competition, that took place at Seven Springs Mountain Resort as well as theCambria County War Memorial Arena and Planet Ice in Johnstown,featured competition in alpine and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and figure and speed skating.Cover image photo creditKecia Bal /The Tribune-Democrat.
Since Winter Games was held on Super Bowl Sunday, cool activities were planned that included a viewing party on a 22-foot screen. The Games officially began with Opening Ceremonies on Sunday, February 7 at 7:00 p.m. in Seven Springs Mountain Resort’s Festival Plaza. The anticipated Opening featured an array of speakers and performances to motivate and entertain the athletes, and commenced competition with the official lighting of the Olympic Torch.
Competition began on Monday, February 8 and offered amajority of competition at Seven Springs with the exception of figure skating (Cambria County War Memorial Arena) and speed skating (Planet Ice, Richland). Individual, relay, and team events took place. Award and Closing Ceremonies took place at each venue from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on February 9th.
More than 1,000 volunteers fromthe community, corporations, schools and universitiesparticipated in the event, serving in numerous capacities including officials, athlete escorts, award presenters, and administrative support services.
Sheetz, Inc., Aerotek, GEICO, Gilbane Construction, W.W. Grainger, Lee Initiatives, Inc., Cove Haven Entertainment Resorts, Pitt Ohio and Primanti Bros. are major sponsors of this year’s event. In addition, WJAC, the Tribune Democrat, and WTAJ will serve as key Winter Games media partners.
Click here to view Photography by Dane Winter Games photos
Unified Sports Experience
The first ever Unified Snowshoeing Relay Challenge invited reception guests to play unified with our athletes, including WJAC-TV sports reporter Kari Osep. The Bedford County athletes on the winning team immediately received the privilege of lighting the cauldron at Opening Ceremonies with our friends from law enforcement! Click here to view more Unified Sports Experience photos!
Special Olympics PA kicked the 2016 Winter Games off a couple of days in advance with a “splash party” on February 5th and a “plunge” on Saturday, February 6th. Hundreds of brave individuals were “freezin’ for a reason” as they jumped into the Canoe Creek State Park Lake in Hollidaysburg, PA during the Winter Games Polar Plunge. Over 400 plungers participated in the Plunge which raised more than $100,000.
The second annual Friday Night Splash offered attendees an evening of fun with live music from acoustic guitarist Matt Pletcher, free appetizers, a cash bar, cool raffle items, and a 50/50. Whereas, the Plunge welcomed special guest Jordan Conigliaro, WJAC TV sports director, who served as plunge emcee.