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Nike Hosts 500 Young Athletes for the 9th Annual Special Olympics Oregon Youth Games

Kat Williamson, Portland Thorns Soccer Player, participates in her first Youth Games event, sharing words of wisdom with Iris Servo, 7.

On October 3, 500 Special Olympics Oregon athletes gathered at Nike World Headquarters for the 9th Annual Special Olympics Oregon Youth Games. 400 Nike volunteers and several Nike athletes were on hand at the one-day event to teach young athletes with intellectual disabilities the basics of a popular sport. 

During the Opening Ceremonies, Nike presented a check for $200,000 to Special Olympics Oregon, which has served over 4,000 participants since 2007. The donation will support Unified Sports, a program that provides extracurricular sports opportunities for children, youth and adults in over 30 Oregon communities.

Sarah Reinertsen, Paralympic Triathlete in track and field and Special Olympics Oregon volunteer, emcees the Opening Ceremonies.
Margie Hunt, CEO, Special Olympics Oregon. “Since the Youth Games started in 2007, we’ve grown 142% in the 8-18 age range, in great part due to the visibility of this event.”

Nike's partnership with Special Olympics Oregon is part of the company’s broader commitment to support organizations that provide positive experiences in sport and physical activity for physically and intellectually challenged young athletes.

“Nike believes in the power of sport to move the world and unleash human potential," said Jorge Casimiro, Vice President of Global Community Impact at Nike. "It's a thrill to support and encourage all of these young athletes today on the track, basketball court, soccer field and at the golf tee.” 

Jorge Casimiro presents a $200,000 check to Margie Hunt and Special Olympics Oregon in support of Unified Sports.

Nike's commitment to physically and intellectually challenged athletes also includes design expertise. FLYEASE construction, launched in July with the Zoom Soldier 8 FLYEASE, introduces an innovative wrap-around zipper solution that opens the back of the shoe near the heel-counter, making it easier to slide the foot in and out. Nike will expand FLYEASE to a footwear collection across a few sports beginning in Spring 2016 to provide athletes with a greater range of use. 

At this year's event, the Nike community along with several Nike athletes, rallied around the young athletes and their families, showing just how powerful sport can be while bringing out the very best in our community. Photos of the young athletes in action at the 9th Annual Special Olympics Oregon Youth Games are seen below:

Special Olympics Oregon (SOOR) athlete Kate Regalli, 9, competes in Soccer.
SOOR athlete Isaac Sandler, 6, competes in Track and Field.
SOOR athlete Paul Swan-Surgeon, 13, competes in Basketball.
SOOR athlete Gene Johnson, 9, competes in Golf.
SOOR athlete Jesse DeLaunay, 8, competes in Basketball with Paralympic Snowboarder Keith Gabel.
SOOR athletes Brandon Ching, 11, and Kate Regalli, 9, at the 9th annual Special Olympics Oregon Youth Game at Nike.
Caption: SOOR athlete Caleb Costello, 7, competes in Basketball.
A SOOR athlete competes in Golf.
A SOOR athlete competes in Track and Field.
SOOR athlete Julian Claxton-Garcia, 6, competes in Soccer.
Special Olympics Oregon athletes compete at the 9th annual Special Olympics Oregon Youth Games at Nike with Alberto Salazar.

About Nike Community Impact

Nike believes in the power of sport to move the world and unleash human potential. However, the world is moving less and less, and today's generation of children is the least physically active ever. That’s why Nike works to get kids (ages 7-12) active early and for life, because active kids are happier, healthier and more successful. Together with its employees, partners, consumers and athletes, Nike also supports important causes that strengthen communities across the globe. Learn more.