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World Games

Alternating between summer and winter, the Special Olympics World Games are one of the world’s largest sporting events, drawing as many if not more athletes than the Olympics. Every two years since 1968, athletes from more than 100 nations have gathered to celebrate sport and showcase the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. This prominent world stage brings attention to the Special Olympics movement and helps create positive, sometimes lifesaving policy change for people with intellectual disabilities in countries around the world.


2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The 2019 Games will run from March 12-21 and will feature competition in 24 sports. There will be court sports: badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, bocce, handball, table tennis, tennis and volleyball. There will be races in athletics, cycling, kayaking, open water swimming, roller skating, sailing, swimming and triathlon. Judged competitions will be equestrian, judo, artistic gymnasts and rhythmic gymnastics. Rounding out the list of sports are bowling, football, golf and powerlifting.

Many thousands of people will take part or watch the Games. An estimated 7,000 Special Olympics athletes and their 2,600 coaches will arrive early to get used to the time zone and temperature. Abu Dhabi itself will provide 20,000 volunteers and up to 500,000 spectators. The families of the athletes will number 6,000. And there's an expectation that 2,000 reporters, photographers, videographers and bloggers will capture the games for international media. Honored guests of Special Olympics could number 4,000, too.   Special Olympics Oregon will not be sending athletes as part of the SO Team USA delegation in 2019.   However, three SOOR coaches have been selected by SO USA to support the delegation – Jill Simmons, High Desert (Aquatics Sports Manager); Jill Olson, Yamhill (Bocce Assistant Coach); Alicia Clarke, Multnomah (Bowling Assistant Coach).


2017 World Winter Games - Austria

The 2017 World Winter Games took place on March 14-25, 2017 in Graz/Schmalding, Austria and featured more than 3,000 athletes from around the globe.  More information about these games can be found at

Congratulations to the following Special Olympics Oregon athletes and coaches who represented Special Olympics USA at the 2017 World Winter Games in Austria:


Alpine Skiing (Advanced)

  • Nolan Carlson, Wasco/Sherman - PARTICIPATION in Giant Slalom
  • Mandi Durfee, Union - SILVER in Giant Slalom; BRONZE in the Slalom

Cross-Country Skiing

  • Ashley Naber, Clackamas - BRONZE in 2.5km Race; 5th PLACE in 1km Race; 5th PLACE in 4x1km Relay
  • Nicholas Mendiguren, Union - 4th PLACE in 2.5km Race; 5th PLACE in 5km Race; 5th PLACE in 4x1km Relay 


  • Ciara Berryessa-Buckalew, Eugene/Springfield - SILVER in 4x400m Relay; BRONZE in 400m Race; 4th PLACE in 200m Race


  • Alpine Skiing - Bryan Tweit, Baker
  • Alpine Skiing - Tom Wallace, Multnomah
  • Cross-Country Skiing - Jill Simmons, High Desert
  • Snowboarding - Riad Edwards, Multnomah







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