New four-season model will debut January 2023
Jason Blank, Vice President of Sports & Health Programs, announced a minor shift for Special Olympics Wisconsin sports programming.
“Three years ago, Special Olympics Wisconsin created a committee to evaluate our Sport Seasons,” Blank said in a memo delivered to all program managers. “The goal was to evaluate current sports offerings and athlete trends to make appropriate changes, if required, that insures long-term sustainability and growth of Special Olympics Wisconsin programs.”
The committee used a variety of resources to make an informed decision on the future of Special Olympics Wisconsin including:
- Reviewing Feedback from meetings with Athletes and Local Programs
- Analyzing SOWI participation trends
- Evaluating SOWI sports and events
- Surveying other Special Olympics state programs to learn best practices
After reviewing all of that information, the committee set standards for program change:
- Create Better Competition experiences for our Athletes
- Reduce the number of standalone State Competitions
- Increase State Games participation numbers
- Improve Healthy Athletes participation
With these goals in mind, SOWI created a new sport season schedule for 2023 and beyond that will best fit Athlete participation trends and allow for appropriate time for training while also considering facility availability for practices and competitions.
With the four highest participation sports as seasonal pillars, the remaining sports fell into place based on appropriate competition venues and multi-sport athlete participation data. Additional venue criteria included high-quality facilities, adequate housing onsite or near competition, and appropriate space for Healthy Athletes and other programming.
The new sports season schedule timeline and locations can be seen in the image below.
“We understand with change brings questions,” Blank said. “To best serve in answering these questions, we’ve created a form for your submissions, which can be found here. Special Olympics Wisconsin staff will respond to your question and use this form to create a Frequently Asked Questions that we will also share later.”
The new sports seasons will go into effect following the State Bowling Tournament at Weston Lanes in Wausau Saturday & Sunday, December 3 & 4.