Team Florida Goes for the Gold!

With the first week of July comes the kick-off of National Hot Dog Month, National Ice Cream Month, National Picnic Month, and the patriotic spirit for the 4th of July. But what you may not know is amidst all the summer celebration also comes the start of the Special Olympics 2018 USA Games. The 2018 USA Games take place every 2 years with athletes from all over the United States. This year they are held in Seattle, Washington. This special and monumental event began with an opening ceremony on Sunday at the University of Washington’s Huskey Stadium to honor the 3,000 athletes that will be competing in the Games from Sunday, July 1st to Friday, July 6th. The Special Olympics flag was also raised all the way to the top of the Space Needle to honor the Games, the athletes, the ideals of Special Olympics, and its 50th anniversary.

One of the biggest goals of Special Olympics is to encourage acceptance of all individuals of varying abilities. Each day Special Olympics strives towards inclusion in athletics, and these 2018 USA Games are just one of the many ways in which they will showcase that. In addition to celebrating these games, Special Olympics participants will also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics in honor of Eunice Shriver, who was the founder of Special Olympics and the one who started this movement towards inclusive sports. These Games are an impactful way to commemorate the road that Eunice Shriver paved, as well as all the accomplishments and progress that these athletes are making today.

The 2018 USA Games will consist of 14 different sports that athletes from all over the U.S. will be competing in over the span of a week. Specifically, Team Florida will have over 230 athletes competing in Athletics (track and field), Basketball, Bowling, Bocce, Flag Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Powerlifting, Soccer, Softball, Stand Up Paddle, Swimming, Tennis, and Volleyball. Team Florida headed to Seattle in style as the Miami Marlins baseball team hosted a special send-off on Friday, June 29th. Among these athletes were our friends from LEAP South Florida, who will be representing the Special Olympics Florida Gymnastics Team. The athletes of LEAP South Florida joined us last year here at Balance 180 for the 2017 Special Olympics Area Games. We will be cheering them on all the way from Gainesville as they go for the gold!

For more information and updates on the event, visit specialolympicsusagames.org. Results for Team Florida and specific events, such as Gymnastics, can also be found here! 

 

Written by Casey McLaughlin

Just received a $4000 Grant from the Special Olympics!

Balance 180 is proud to announce that we have been chosen as a recipient of a $4,000 grant from the Special Olympics!

The Balance 180 team has been working effortlessly to bring the Gainesville community together through the Young Athletes Program. From volunteers to board members, we are all thankful to receive such a wonderful grant to continue and improve our services in the future.

Thanks, Special Olympics!

We Made the Front Page of the Gainesville Sun!

Special kids get a jump on sports and togetherness

By Kristine Crane
Staff writer

Zaivion and Zachary Mason of Gainesville never used to play together. Although the two brothers are just a year apart, they were born with one big difference between them: Zaivion, 7, has cerebral palsy, a disease of the central nervous system affecting motor skills, and his little brother doesn’t.

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Athletes Gear Up for The Special Olympics!

Balance 180 has made into another article in The Independent Alligator! Check it out!

 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Young athletes will have the chance to shine at Alachua County’s first Special Olympics this weekend.

Rooted on by UF cheerleaders, Olympic torchbearer Jillian Roberts and the mayor of Gainesville, disabled preschool- and elementary-aged children will perform athletics including running, jumping and throwing, said event coordinator Krista Vandenborne.

The Special Olympics will take place at St. Francis Catholic High School, 4100 NW 115th St., from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The program is being hosted by Balance 180, an organization founded this year by two UF professors. Vandenborne, the chairwoman of UF’s Department of Physical Therapy, is among the professors who helped found Balance 180.

She said the young athletes — ages 2 through 7 with disabilities ranging from Down syndrome to cerebral palsy — have been preparing for the event all semester with training sessions.

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Check Out Balance 180’s Article About the Olympic Torch!

GAINESVILLE, FLA. –The 2012 Olympics might be finished, but an Olympic torch will make an appearance in Gainesville.

Sunday, Jillian Roberts, a 2012 Olympic torchbearer and UF student, will bring a torch given to her after the Olympics to St. Francis Catholic High School, 4100 NW 115th Terrace.

Roberts will bring the torch for the Special Olympics Young Athletes Program Culminating Event hosted by Balance 180 Gymnastics & Sports Academy.

“I’m real excited to come and let them see the torch,” Roberts said. “I hope they like it and they can take back something from seeing the torch.“

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