Special Olympics 2012 State Summer Games

May 18-20,2012

Emory University, Atlanta

 “Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Through year-round sports training and athletic competition and other related programming for nearly 3.5 million children and adults with intellectual disabilities in more than 170 countries, Special Olympics has created a model community that celebrates people’s diverse gifts.” Special Olympics was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

“Special Olympics Georgia serves more than 24,470 athletes with intellectual disabilities in over 180 programs in 120 counties. More than 2,600 Special Olympics athletes, Unified Partners, and coaches from around the state will descend on Emory University to compete in Aquatics, Athletics, Soccer, Badminton, Volleyball, Tennis, Gymnastics, and Table Tennis with over 600 coaches to guide them in competition.” Other activities will include Opening ceremonies, a festival loaded with games and crafts, and the Victory Dance on Saturday night.


My son, Merritt, is competing for the first time this year (Track & Field), and will be one of many athletes representing Cherokee County at the Special Olympics Summer Games. I can’t wait to see my little man up on the podium!


The mission of Cherokee County Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

Cherokee County’s delegation will consist of over 90 athletes, unified partners, and volunteers. We will compete in Aquatics, Athletics, Soccer, Volleyball and Tennis.

We will also compete in Unified Competitions. Unified Sports is a program that combines approximately equal numbers of Special Olympics athletes and athletes without intellectual disabilities (known as unified partners) on sports teams for training and competition. We currently have Unified Sports teams competing in Aquatics, Soccer, Volleyball and Tennis during the Summer Games at Emory.

All of our athletes must participate in an 8 week training program prior to competition at the games to ensure athletes have acquired the appropriate skills and fitness levels.

Cherokee County Special Olympics is a 100% volunteer organization.

Volunteers must complete a training certification prior to becoming a coach.

There is no cost to join Special Olympics, nor is there a cost to train or compete. Special Olympics raises funds through private donations, fundraisers, and special events.

Dave Martinez, M.A., CAPE
Special Olympics Co-coordinator

For more information please visit – www.cherokeecountyspecialolympics.org


Cherokee County has a dedicated team of volunteers. Kim Watt began volunteering with Special Olympics three years ago with bowling, but there was need for Track & Field.  She recruited Jonas Motiejunas to coach, as he is a former Georgia Tech Track & Field National Champion and attended the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.  The next year his brother, Tomas, who is also a former National Champion track star, began coaching.  The two of them have doubled the amount of athletes they coach each year and love it.  Jonas says “I enjoy coaching for Special Olympics because I love to work with the athletes.  It’s great to see them work so hard in practice then watch them compete at the state games.  Track has always been such a huge part of my life and I’m glad to give back.”


Volunteer for the Summer Games, it’s easy!

Want to be a someone’s hero? Become a volunteer! Read all about the volunteer experience and its benefits…


It sounds fun and can’t wait to get started, right? Even if you’re unable to help staff the event, we need a cheering section!

We need you to fill the stands with your enthusiasm, because it’s truly not as special without the fans. Contact Leslie Anderson at [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering.


BE A FAN!  Join us for the 2012 Special Olympics State Summer Games, May 18 – May 20, 2012 at Emory University, Atlanta. Come out to cheer on these athletes, who possess amazing heart, talent, and determination.


Summer Games Schedule


Opening Ceremonies – Friday, May 18th – 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. –  Emory University’s McDonough Field

Friday, May 18th – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m – Aquatics, Athletics and Tennis competitions begin.

Saturday, May 19th – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Competitions continue with Aquatics, Athletics, Flag Football, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Soccer, Table Tennis, Tennis and Volleyball.

Saturday, May 19th – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Olympic Town – Emory University’s McDonough Field. Crafts, Games, booths and refreshments will be provided to all attendees at Olympic Town.

Saturday, May 19th – The Healthy Athlete program is conducted. All Special Olympic Athletes attending the event have the option to go through health screenings for their eyes, feet and teeth.

Saturday, May 19th -7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. -Athlete Victory Dance – Athletes come together to celebrate in the Woodruff PE Center Gymnasium.

Sunday, May 20th – 7 a.m. to 1 p.m -Athletics, Aquatics, Badminton and Tennis  Events competition continues and concludes.


All competitions take place on Emory University’s campus. The venues on campus are the Woodruff PE Center, Candler Field, Cox Banquet Hall and McDonough Field.


For more details and directions visit – http://www.specialolympicsga.org/become-an-athlete/competition-schedule/state-summer-games/


(as seen in the May TBB mini mag)