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The Special Olympics mission is...to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with mental retardation, 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.
Special Olympics Illinois offers...training and competition in 18 sports including: alpine skiing, aquatics (swimming), athletics (track & field), basketball, bocce, bowling, cross country skiing, equestrian, figure skating, floor hockey, football (soccer), golf, gymnastics, powerlifting, softball, speed skating, tennis and volleyball. Special Olympics Illinois also provides motor activities training programs for persons with severe and profound disabilities. Athletes learn fundamentals, rules and strategies from their coaches during a training period prior to competition. Competitions are held at the Area, regional and state levels. Illinois is divided into 17 Special Olympics Areas, each with an Area Director who coordinates Area competition, fundraising and administration. World Games are held every two years with winter and summer games alternating. In 1999, athletes from Illinois competed on Team U.S.A. at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The program helps...Special Olympics athletes enhance their physical fitness and motor skills, self-confidence, self-image, friendships and social skills, and encourage family support. Special Olympics athletes carry these benefits with them into their daily lives at home, in the classroom, on the job and in the community. Families who participate become stronger as they learn a greater appreciation of their athlete's abilities. Volunteers help in every aspect of the program and derive great satisfaction from contact with the athletes and their families. Everyone in the community respects and learns more about the capabilities of people with mental retardation.
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