February 2015

Greetings Supporter,

I am so proud to be a part of the Special Olympics Maryland family working on behalf of our athletes. The bulk and pace of activity is sometimes hard to comprehend. Since wrapping up the Plunge with the Cool School Challenge on January 30 we have conducted a combination of twelve special events and competitions.  Hagerstown Community College hosted 300 + athletes at the Interscholastic Unified Indoor Bocce State Championship on February 11 and we had to reschedule our Interscholastic Unified Strength and Conditioning State Championship for February 28. We are in the heart of our basketball season with numerous tournaments being hosted in February and March by Area Programs leading up to the state tournament in Fredericksburg scheduled for March 21 and 22. On February 21, 660 people braved extreme conditions to do the MSP/NRP Deep Creek Dunk. In order to prepare the Dunk “space”, Maryland State Police, Natural Resources Police and other law enforcement community members endured brutal sub-zero conditions initially cutting through 16 inches of ice on February 16th and then cutting daily until Saturday’s “Dunk” through three inches of ice to keep the water accessible. The first ever University of Maryland Plunge and the annual Son’s of American Legion Cecil County Ice Splash were held February 28. All of these events are made possible by countless dedicated volunteers who go to great lengths to support our athletes and build communities of dignity and respect across the state.

Another example of building communities of dignity and respect was on display at Whitetail Resort this winter season where the Whitetail staff welcomed over 200 athletes to compete in Alpine Skiing and Snow Shoeing for training, time trials and our Winter Games. In preparation for the Games and on site at the event the Whitetail team worked as part of our team to make sure that our athletes had a great experience.

During the Games, I had the good fortune of volunteering on the final day of competition as an athlete escort. My final assignment of the day was to make sure that Division 807 completed two runs on the advanced slalom course. So I gathered athletes Brian Vary, Joshua Perrie, Terrell Limerick (see athlete of the month), Jake Reynolds, Peter Berlett and Joshua Fondren in the staging tent. Out on the snow at the base of the mountain we organized in groups to ride the chair lift and I got to ride with Joshua and Joshua. The lift ride gave me a chance to get to know these guys a little bit which made it fun to watch as they navigated their way through the slalom course.

After handing them off to the great volunteers at the start gate, I headed to the finish line to organize the group to go back up for the second run. Everyone had a clean first run so they were eager to ski their second run and here is where it gets interesting. As we went to get off the chair lift, Joshua Pierre’s ski came loose. We were able to retrieve the ski and reset his boot in the binding but it seemed that something was wrong. The group skied down to the start area and lined up for their final run. It became clear that Joshua’s ski would not be secure as the binding disengaged as he remained stationary on the hill awaiting his time to compete.

The volunteer team overseeing the competition was great. They agreed to wait for Joshua to go get a new set of skis so that he could safely complete his final run. So the rest of Division 807 completed their second run of the race. While I took them to the awards staging tent, Cathy, a volunteer from the competition team took Joshua to get his new set of skis. After riding up the mountain on the chair lift, Joshua tested his skis as he made his way halfway down the mountain to the start gate. His skis were secure, the volunteers were ready and the course was ready. I started to ski down to wait for him. He was three gates into the race when I turned and saw him fall. Amazingly, his skis remained secure to his boots and he was able to pick himself up and make his way back up the course. As he set his angle to resume skiing through the next gate, I was immediately proud of Joshua, his coaches, Cathy and the other race volunteers. As he passed through the last gate, it signified a team triumph of all those who contributed to Joshua’s success in completing the race. His time wasn’t as fast as he wanted but he had two clean runs. As I escorted him to the awards area to meet his fellow competitors he displayed a positive attitude about the entire experience. We can all learn from Joshua’s exceptional attitude…in the spirit of the Special Olympics Athlete Oath, he was brave in the attempt.

Always...brave in the attempt,

James C. Schmutz
President and CEO

Terrel Limerick  

Hometown:  Rockville, MD

Joined Special Olympics: 2000 

Sports: alpine skiing, track & field, sailing

Excited about:  being an athlete ambassador and attending the upcoming 2015 World Games in Los Angeles, CA as a level 5 sailor

Wants you to know:  I want people to know that my disabilities will never keep me from being a successful person at work, in sports or in my life.

Video link:  click here to meet Terrel and hear his message

Click here to read Terrel's full story and follow him throughout the rest of the year as he trains and competes in alpine skiing, track & field, and sailing.  

You can also click here to make a donation to Terrel as he raises money to support his travel and lodging at the upcoming World Games in July.




Upcoming Events


Special Events:

  • Annapolis Day 3/4/15
  • Spread the Word to End the Word 3/4/15
  • Capitol Hill Day
  • Athlete Congress 3/14/15
  • 2015 Naptown Trot 3/28/15

Meet Charles County Coach
Dave Bradshaw

Staff Photo by Emily Barnes

Dave has been a coach with Special Olympics Maryland for 10 years in 3 sports:  powerlifting, bocce and track & field. He is the Maryland nominee for the Special Olympics North America Coach of the Year Award. 

Dave is a physical education teacher at
Maurice J. McDonough High School in Charles County. Dave models, embodies, and exemplifies what every coach strives to be. His dedication, passion, motivation, and ability to identify and strategize how to best train his athletes and realize extraordinary results is remarkable.

Click here to read more about Dave's story...

Finish Line provides athletes with more than just a pair of shoes

 With the introduction of Strive and Strive Core, Special Olympics continued its partnership with Finish Line.  Special Olympics Maryland held its first Strive and Strive CORE events in the fall. Strive and Strive CORE focus on providing resources to coaches and athletes that enhance a well-rounded training program.

At the state soccer competition, 55 athletes received baseline fitness assessments that measured an athlete’s four characteristics of physical fitness– body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular fitness, and flexibility.  Assessed athletes walked away with fitness tips and at-home exercises to help them increase their physical fitness. 

29 coaches attended Strive Core and received the proper training to implement a cross training program for the upcoming Winter Program.

In December, Finish Line also demonstrated their commitment to Special Olympics by donating a new pair of athletic shoes to 10 Special Olympics Maryland athletes. These athletes were invited to receive an individualized fitting and were able to choose a new pair of shoes.

Special Olympics Maryland is honored to continue our partnership with Finish Line and excited to see the impact this will have for our athletes 

Cool School Challenge Makes a Huge Splash 

On January 30, 3,000 students representing 68 schools across Maryland, responded to the Cool School Challenge to support Special Olympics Maryland. They came to Sandy Point State Park and plunged in the frigid waters of the Chesapeake Bay. The day represents the very best of youth leadership in generating awareness that builds inclusive communities of dignity and respect where individuals with intellectual disabilities are welcomed in their schools and beyond.

Many of the participating schools like South River HS, Arundel HS and Southern HS also have active Interscholastic Unified Sports programs. Engaging middle schools like Magothy River MS and Arundel MS demonstrate how the “play unified” concept is expanding to include younger leaders as well.

The Cool School Challenge was enhanced by our proud partnership with Wawa which provided lunch for all the students, teachers/administrators and volunteers. Additionally, we are grateful to Foggy May for once again providing high quality entertainment as the band energized the 3,000+ students prior to taking the plunge. Additional energy was provided by the Dunbar (Baltimore) High School Marching band which entertained the students and played the national anthem which signaled for the students that it was time to plunge.

Special Olympics athletes and their Interscholastic Unified Teammates on site along with other middle and high school students demonstrated the power of leadership. They are proof positive that the power of sport and common goal to be unified as a community will continue to advance the promise of a better Maryland that plays and lives unified. And by the way…collectively, those leaders raised $271,519 for Special Olympics Maryland.

MYTH: Special Olympics athletes don't compete according to official/commonly accepted
sports rules.

FACT:   Special Olympics athletes compete under rules of international governing bodies by sport with some modifications as outlines in The Official Special Olympics Sports Rules.

We need your support

Athletes don't pay to play

Did you know that an athlete does not pay to participate in Special Olympics Maryland? A gift of $203 will cover the cost of an athlete like Terrel, pictured above, to train and compete in Alpine Skiing. You can help make this possible…it's only a click away.

Volunteer Opportunities

If you’re inspired by the lives being transformed through Special Olympics Maryland, there are dozens of ways you can get involved. Visit us online to learn how you can volunteer.

Spending Wisely in Maryland

86% of every dollar raised is spent on sports training and competition, and athlete retention and recruitment.

By the Numbers


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