Basketball, Swimming Compete at SOWI Spring Games

April 22, 2024 Blog, Events, Featured, Press

Nearly 900 basketball and swimming athletes from across the state converged on the campus of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh April 12-14 for the Special Olympics Wisconsin Spring Games. For the second straight year, the Spring Games featured spirited competition in 3v3 Basketball, Basketball Skills, Team Basketball, and multiple Swimming events throughout the three days.

An Opening Ceremony at UW-Oshkosh’s Kolf Center featuring guest speaker UW-Oshkosh Vice Chancellor of Enrollment and Student Services Erin Grisham and appearances by the Lourdes Academy pep band and Wisconsin Herd mascot Pointer welcomed all athletes, coaches, family, and fans. Athlete Leadership Specialist Lexi Galarowicz spoke to the incredible work the Athlete Leadership Council has done so far in 2024.

As part of the Opening Ceremony, the SOWI Health team honored Dr. Tammy Boudry, Dr. Robb Warren, and Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation with the Golisano Health Award. This award recognizes health champions’ extraordinary efforts—the highest honor for health partners and individuals who fulfil the goals, values, and mission of Special Olympics’ global health program—all made possible by the Golisano Foundation. Last year alone Dr. Boudry and Dr. Warren combined offer $40,000 of dental services—completely free to SOWI athletes who may not have access to care. Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation has supported SOWI oral health programming since 2001, allowing SOWI to offer Special Smiles four times a year and provide follow-up care coordination with places like Dr. Boudry and Dr. Warren’s practices. In the 20-plus years of involvement, Delta Dental has given more than $600,000 to support athletes’ dental care.

Complementing the competition slate, SOWI also hosted a series of health-focused activities, including four Healthy Athletes events on Saturday alone. Performance Station (fitness and strength education) kicked off Friday night, with Special Smiles® (oral health screenings and education), Healthy Hearing® (hearing screenings), Strong Minds® (mental and emotional wellness), and FUNfitness® (flexibility, strength, and balance assessment) took place Saturday. A total of 682 Healthy Athletes screenings took place Saturday, in addition to 162 athletes visiting Friday’s Performance Station.

Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Wisconsin hosted a torch run and cauldron lighting outside UW-Oshkosh’s Kolf Center prior to and part of Friday’s Opening Ceremony. An Athlete Leadership Reunion with dinner and trivia also took place Saturday night before a lively 90s-themed dance hosted by DJ Matt from Elite Music Service welcomed all in athletes attendance.

The Packers Tailgate Tour featuring a handful of Green Bay Packers surprised athletes with some pickup basketball between games Saturday afternoon, and the Packers Give Back awarded SOWI a $250,000 Impact Grant to help fund healthy athlete screenings, updated equipment, and enhanced training for SOWI coaches.

By Sunday afternoon, hundreds of awards were handed out, and plenty of memories were made!

Check out the Spring Games Flickr Album to relive the photo moments.


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