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Closing ceremonies

July 28, 2010

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Fefe Dobson gets athletes, coaches, officials and fans on their feet at the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games closing ceremonies.

Photo by: Kaitlyn Burke, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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David Steffan performs and gets spectators moving at the closing ceremonies.

Photo by: Kaitlyn Burke, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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The Oregon soccer team watches the flag being lowered as the USA National Games come to an end.

Photo by: Kaitlyn Burke, University of Nebraska- Lincoln

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First Lady of Nebraska, Sally Ganem, addresses the crowd along with members of Project UNIFY.

Photo by: Kaitlyn Burke, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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LaShell Griffin performs as the crowd dances with red glow sticks.

Photo by: Kaitlyn Burke, University of Nebraska-Lincoln



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Athletes head home

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Team Vermont prepares to head home from the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games.

The Cessna Airlift (Click here to see all our coverage) began at 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning and continued through 4:30 p.m. with more than 170 Cessna Citation aircraft flying roughly 800 Special Olympics athletes and their coaches to their homes across the country. It was the final send-off event of the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games in Lincoln, Neb.

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A Cessna Citation jet takes off from the Lincoln Airport carrying Special Olympic athletes as part of the Cessna Airlift.

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Florida Special Olympics athletes check in for their flight home. Florida was the first team to leave Saturday morning.

Photos by Jerry Renaud begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Video by Barney McCoy, University of Nebraska-Lincoln



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Basketball official reflects, looks forward to Athens

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Video by Farooq Baloch and Christine Scalora, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Leonard “Spike” Bauroth first began officiating in 1954. He worked in the ACC and the Southern Conference until 1968. Then, he quit and took a 12 year break to be with his family.

In 1980, at age 50, Bauroth ran a marathon and decided to return to officiating. He said, “Anyone dumb enough to run 26 miles ought to be dumb enough to referee again.”

In 1987, Jackie Loube, the technical delegate for basketball for Special Olympics North America, took Bauroth to the Special Olympics World Games. Bauroth has officiated at every World Games since.

Bauroth has a loud voice and a strong presence on the basketball court, but his passion for Special Olympics reveals his softer side. “I get more than I give” he says of working with Special Olympics athletes.

At age 80, Bauroth knows he is lucky to be active and to be able to work with Special Olympics. He hopes to attend the Games in Athens, Greece, in 2011.



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Sights and sounds from the closing ceremony

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Video by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The closing ceremony displayed a final send-off for the athletes and fans who were a part of the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games.



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Opening Eyes

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Video: Dora Lopez, UNL



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Fraizer family making an impact

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Richard Frazier, Ronnia Frazier, Eli Frazier- North Carolina

Photo and story by: Kaitlyn Burke, University of Nebraska- Lincoln

Frazier Family Making an Impact

The Frazier family came from halfway across the country to volunteer at the power lifting venue for the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Frazier family’s passion for the Special Olympics began over 20 years ago when Richard and Ronnia met in college. “We got involved with Special Olympics in college in North Carolina. The college promoted the event and so we began volunteering. My husband then took a job that required him to work at the State Games in Greenville and then it all snowballed from there,” Ronnia said.

That snowball has only gotten bigger and a lot has changed since their first experience at the State Games in North Carolina. Richard has been the technical delegate for power lifting at the regional, state, national and international level. In addition to working regional and state levels, Richard was the technical delegate for the inaugural USA National Games in Ames, Iowa and worked internationally for the Dublin, Ireland, Shanghai, China and next year’s Athens, Greece Special Olympics world games. His wife Ronnia and their son, Eli travel with him and volunteer as officials for the power lifting competitions. Eli started getting involved with Special Olympics five years ago, “When I was younger my parents got me started. I was the tag along, but I fell in love with it and just keep coming back for more,” expressed Eli.

For the Frazier family it isn’t about travel or the praise of other people. Rather it is about the athletes and what they do. With a tear in her eye Ronnia stated, “It’s the spirit. It’s the spirit of love, teamwork and everybody coming together; nobody’s grouchy, everyone is happy and everyone comes together, it’s beautiful, it’s a yes I can attitude.” Richard noted that, “We enjoy what we do here. We always feel great because once you experience the enjoyment of the athletes it’s something that will always be near and dear to my heart. I enjoy working with the athletes, coaches and other workers and volunteers.”

The Fraziers are a unique and inspiring family. Instead of having a family trip to Hawaii or California, they spend their vacations working and volunteering for the Special Olympics. “It feels very good to work together as a family,” Richard said, “We do lots of things together, but all of us working together for the same goal and same purpose is really meaningful to me.”

“This truly makes you appreciate what you have” Ronnia describes. “Sometimes it’s so easy to say I can’t do this or maybe I don’t want to get up in the morning, but when you look at somebody who has to put fourth so much more effort, and then you do too. My experience with Special Olympics has changed my life.”



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‘Be a fan’

July 27, 2010

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Video compiled by: Emily Bliss, UNL



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Special Olympics slideshow

 

 

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Slideshow by Chelsey Criner at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln



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First Special Olympics Wyoming power lifter competes in Games

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Coleman enters stage before competing in the bench press event held at Kimball Hall.

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Coleman poses with his coach in between power lifting events on Thursday.

Photos and story by: Alanna Nunn, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

He’s a John Wayne fan and likes to watch baseball. He works at Village Inn in Casper, Wyoming and has done so for the past 20 years. He’s 67 years old and a power lifter in the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games.

Fred Coleman began his power lifting career in 2004 when the Special Olympics introduced the sport to the state of Wyoming. It was then that Fred became the first Special Olympics power lifting athlete in his state.

Coleman has participated in the Special Olympics for over 30 years. Aside from power lifting, he also competes in cross country skiing during the Special Olympics Winter Games. He has been training for the power lifting competition for about 16 weeks, and was fully prepared coming into the USA National Games. When asked what his favorite part about the event was, Coleman replied, “It would have to be the dead lift.”

Coleman says he has enjoyed a lot of things about his trip to Nebraska. He competed in the bench press and dead lift competitions on Thursday. The power lifting events were held at Kimball Hall at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.



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Powerlifting — 7/25 PM session

Alabama power lifter with visual impairment takes home four golds

Video by Balsam Ali, UNL

Powerlifting event special for all involved

By Balsam Ali

After the weights were put away and the medals awarded, all that remained for the volunteers and officials involved with Thursday’s powerlifting competition were happy memories.

For some, that’s more than enough.

“It was definitely worth it just got to get be on stage and experience those moments with them,” said volunteer Sarah Wick. “Just feeling the excitement when they made their lifts made it something I will never forget.”

While the powerlifting event at the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games is driven by the performance of the athlete, the success of the event relies on the efforts of a number of volunteers. And it isn’t just those on stage helping with the competition. It’s the people backstage supervising the athletes, and the greeters in the family lounge serving water and getting to know the athletes families.

Wick, who spots the athletes in their lift attempts, said overall it’s a special event for all involved.

“No matter what you are doing it’s been a special personal experience,” Wick said. “Just getting to meet these athletes is an experience in itself, and knowing we are helping to keep the event running makes you proud of the time and energy put in.”

In addition to the competition, volunteers have also found enjoyment in the nightly award ceremonies. Volunteers and significant contributors to the games dole out the medals as an announcer reads off the names to a soundtrack of inspiring music. Even celebrities like former American Idol contestant Michael Sarver made a trip to the venue to hand out awards to the athletes.

The emotional atmosphere of the medal ceremony is the reason Wick said she helped out with the event. She witnessed the medal ceremony the day before she was scheduled and said she decided to stick around and help out because it was such a moving experience.

“Seeing them posing on stage and dancing in celebration is an emotional moment,” Wick said. “It made the work more than worth the time.”

Teamwork

Video and photos by Balsam Ali, UNL

Powering Through: The Story of Matt Jacobson

Video by Pat Radigan, UNL



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