Special Olympics Utah hosts basketball tournament
Ogden, Utah – A program dedicated to helping others, Utah First Lady Abby Cox’s initiative, “Show Up,” has partnered up with the Special Olympics Unified Sports program in schools throughout the state of Utah.
In support, Cox is teaming up with Utah Jazz, Entrata, Weber State University, the Utah High School Activities Association, and Special Olympics Utah to host the Unified Sports Basketball championship tournament on Saturday, March 26.
The event is free and open to the public.
The tournament will feature a parade of athletes, opening ceremonies, a torch run and lighting, the semifinal and championship games, as well as awards ceremonies.
The event will be held at Stromberg Complex (Swenson Gym) at Weber State University, 1356-1372 E 4100 S, Ogden, Utah 84403.
Saturday’s festivities will be from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The media schedule will be as follows:
• 1:00 p.m. Speaker Panel (to include First Lady Cox and partner organization representatives from the Utah Jazz, Weber State University and Special Olympics Utah)
• 1:15 p.m. Student-Athlete Panel
• 1:45 p.m. Parade of Athletes
• 2:00 p.m. Opening Ceremonies
• 2:15 p.m. Awards Ceremony for morning competitors
The Special Olympics Unified Sports/Unified Champion Schools program involves students with and without intellectual disabilities participating on the same teams, fostering empathy, connection and inclusion.
According to the press release, Cox is seeking out Utah businesses that are interested in supporting Unified Sports programs in schools through small financial donations.
Interested parties should contact Kirsten Rappleye at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Special Olympics Unified Sports teams are absolutely miracles. These teams combine students of all abilities, asking them to work together, get proximate, practice empathy and get to know each other. My goal is for every student in the state to have the opportunity to participate and grow from this program,” says Cox.
Weber State University President Brad Mortensen states, “As our student volunteers engage with the Special Olympians, we know they will inspire and encourage each other in both competition and teambuilding.”
Special Olympics Utah President and CEO Scott Weaver says:
“One year ago, First Lady Abby Cox made a commitment to help us introduce the Unified Champion Schools strategy to administrators, educators, and students throughout Utah, and she has delivered on that commitment. Since the start of just this school year, the dedication and influence of the First Lady has helped us reach 12 more high schools, 2 new middle schools, and 10 new elementary schools, totaling over 1,500 students with intellectual disabilities experiencing the benefit of inclusive sports and leadership opportunities. One might think that it is First Lady Cox’s public position that helped produce these results, but in watching her at Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools events and witnessing first hand her interaction with students, I realize that this is personal to her. You can see the focus in her eyes, hear the passion in her voice and feel the kindness from her heart – she is truly committed to the value of the Unified Champion Schools strategy, and making a difference.”