August 2015

Greetings Supporter,

In our continuing efforts to generate greater awareness about our athletes and build communities of dignity and respect, coverage on ESPN would rise to the top of the list of ways to help that cause. Seriously, ESPN, The Worldwide Leader in Sports?  Believe it! Unprecedented in the history of Special Olympics, ESPN delivered a week of extensive coverage of the 2015 Special Olympics Summer World Games in Los Angeles. Special Olympics athletes from around the world played active roles in the three hours of Opening Ceremony coverage on Saturday night which also included celebrities and entertainers like Avril Lavigne who performed her uplifting version of Fly, which she produced especially for Special Olympics. Click here to watch the Opening Ceremonies.  ESPN continued its coverage the rest of the week with 30 minute nightly shows. And then…thanks to popular demand from viewers across the nation, ESPN extended the coverage to 60 minutes on the final night.

For the six Special Olympics Maryland athletes who competed at those 2015 Special Olympics Summer World Games in Los Angeles, it was the experience of a lifetime. You can find the results in this issue. I am so proud of how those athletes represented their fellow SOMD athletes, all 7,169 of them. Last week they got a hero’s welcome from Governor Hogan who graciously engaged with our athletes (see photos) after coming out of a two hour meeting.

As I have said so many times before, Special Olympics suffers from the public perception derived from the “Olympics” concept that we’re just an event. The Friday night before the opening ceremony, 350 people packed the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department at the annual St. Mary’s County athlete recognition night. They also honored Mary Lu Bucci a dedicated longtime volunteer who is officially retiring. Funny how that works…Mary Lu was right back at it supporting our sailing competition for 50 athletes sailing at St. Mary’s College in southern Maryland on the same weekend that the World Games competition began. The athletes both individual and unified teams competed with enthusiasm and grit as they successfully navigated the wind and water.

During the week of the Games Special Olympics Maryland athletes were training for our fall sports season in sports like golf, kayaking and cycling. Since then the rest of our fall sports seasons have also started…they include soccer, flag football, power lifting and distance running. In the last two weeks our athletes have competed in cycling in Prince George's County and golf at Compass Point in Anne Arundel and Timbers of Troy in Howard. We’re not just an event.

Finally, there are several events in September that will raise money and awareness for Special Olympics Maryland. If you like to run/walk join 10-15 of our athletes and 700 supporters for a 5k event at the FortMcHenry Tunnel Run September 20. The Big Bats Open on September 24 at Queenstown Harbor offers you a chance to support our Golf Program by playing on a great venue . For an opportunity to learn more about Special Olympics Maryland and interact with our athletes in a Unified Sports experience (you will have the opportunity to play bocce on a team with one of our athletes) join us for Unified Bocce and BBQ at one of six events in September hosted by Famous Dave’s in Annapolis, Frederick, Bel Air, Columbia, Timonium and Germantown. Click here to see our website for details

Always Brave in the Attempt,                      

James C. Schmutz
President and CEO

This selfie photo was taken on stage at the 2015 Summer Games  Opening Ceremonies  

Sharon Neary

Hometown:  Baldwin, MD

Joined Special Olympics: 2001

Sports: kayaking, alpine skiing and swimming 

Excited about: competing in the upcoming Kayaking competition at Washington College.

Wants you to know:  Special Olympics has helped to improve her health through exercise and eating healthier snacks. She even has her own kayak now!

Video link:  click here to meet Sharon and hear her message

Athletes and Cheer Team from the World Games meet the Governor



5 of the 6 athletes (pictured in top photo, from left to right in blue shirts:  Eddie Murphy, Ben Stevick, Alicia Gogue, Abby Reznek and Chris Dooley) who attended the World Games and several of the members from Cheer For LA World Games Team (athletes from both Montgomery and Calvert County pictured in the 2nd photo) met with Governor Hogan on Wednesday, August 26th. 

Congratulations to all 6 athletes who came home from the World Games with medals.  


First Home Run Derby

   Larry Mills, St. Mary's                    Matt DiGilio, Montgomery 

Athletes who attended the 2015 Summer Games were offered a new activity to attend on Saturday night at the games.   In addition to the traditional options of the dance and movie, athletes could also attend an evening softball game on campus followed by the 1st Annual Home Run Derby.  The evening softball game took place between Frederick and St. Mary’s County.  Frederick County ended up winning the game 16-9.

Each softball team at the Summer Games could enter one athlete into the derby.  12 athletes ended up participating in this event.  The bleachers were pretty full with a couple hundred spectators, so there was plenty of support for those in the competition.  Music was playing and Alan McCauley announced both the evening softball game and the Home Run Derby play by play.  The weather was beautiful, which just added to the excitement surrounding both events.

All 12 athletes competed in the 1st round.  Those who had home runs moved on to the 2nd round.  By the third and final round, we were down to 2 players:  Larry Mills from St. Mary’s County and Matt DiGilio from Montgomery County. 

Both athletes gave it their all, but it was Matt DiGilio who ended up hitting the home run and winning the competition.

25th Anniversary of the ADA

Adam Hays, Julian English and Alisa Ogden

On July 20th 2015 three Special Olympics Maryland (SOMD) athletes were invited with 9 other athletes from Special Olympics Virginia and Special Olympics District of Columbia and a contingent from Special Olympics Inc. (SOI) headquarters to go the White House to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the signing of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Pictured from left to right is Adam Hays from Frederick County, Julian English from Howard County and Alisa Ogden from Montgomery County.  They met at the Special Olympics headquarters in Washington D.C. to join others for the bus ride over to the White House.  After some introductions the group was bussed off to the White House in time to arrive at the appointed time of 3:00pm.

The reception was held in the East Wing and was quite an elegant affair. The White House band played classical music as representatives from many disability advocacy groups mingled and enjoyed some lite fare.  The speech was slated for 5:00pm so there was time to get some business done before the President arrived, after all this is Washington D.C.  Click here to read more... 

MYTH:  Special Olympics Maryland is an Event for elite athletes.

FACTSpecial Olympics Maryland offers year-round sports training and competition in 27 sports over 3 sports seasons. Athletes of all genders, ages (8-90 in Maryland) and ability train and compete like their non-Special Olympics peers…it’s not just one event.

With your support athletes can focus
on training and competing, and not 
on the cost to participate.


Did you know that an athlete does not pay to participate in Special Olympics?  Help transform the life of a Special Olympics athlete through the power of's only a click away!

Alex & Ani add Bravelets
to benefit 
Special Olympics Maryland

 Many styles to choose from and $10 from every Bravelet is donated back to
Special Olympics Maryland


Join us for Unified Bocce and BBQ at one of six events in September hosted by Famous Dave’s in Annapolis, Frederick, Bel Air, Columbia, Timonium and Germantown. Click here to see our website for details 

Giving Back Just Got a Little Easier!

Did you know that Amazon Smile will make a donation to the charity of your choice for items you purchase through this site? Click here to shop and give a little something back to Special Olympics Maryland.

   Athletes Served





2013-2014 CHANGE

(+ 2.8%)

(+ 196 athletes)

Spending Wisely in Maryland

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

Click here to see a copy of our current financials


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