Southeast Missouri State University student publication

#SOMOatHome: The Special Olympics against all odds

Thursday, May 14, 2020
“Promotional banner for Special Olympics Missouri’s #SOMOatHome program. Photo by Special Olympics Missouri”

Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) and its athletes thought this year’s State Summer Games were canceled for good, but the spirit of the event has been reborn in the #SOMOatHome program and the 2020 Virtual Summer Games.

The #SOMOatHome program allows athletes to post and watch videos related to the games and training. President and CEO of SOMO, Susan Stegeman said her team acted quickly to provide as much of the 2020 State Summer Games experience as they could during this time of social distancing.

“I felt like the staff had brainstormed and come up with the idea in less than 24 hours after we got word of COVID closings,” Stegeman said. “We have implemented a schedule for #SOMOatHome from March 19 to May 30. We wanted to make the event robust, meaningful and effective. #SOMOatHome is an innovative and creative way to still provide our mission even when we’re not able to come together in person.”

Stegeman said the #SOMOatHome program allows athletes to connect with coaches, other athletes and share their interests through their videos.

“#SOMOatHome is essentially a collection of training videos and meetings. They’re all online on our Youtube channel,” Stegeman said "The athletes are not able to go to practices like they normally would, so they spoke up and started making videos about what they like to do and want to share. There are videos of athletes leading workouts, yoga classes, health and wellness tips and even cooking classes.”

The #SOMOatHome program features a lesson calendar at somo.org, which lists dance lessons hosted by Digital Media Coordinator of SOMO, Kayla Hull, communication tips and even beginner archery all hosted online through live streams and recorded videos.

Sports and Training Director of SOMO, Tim Schuster hosted a Facebook live stream on May 1 to officially announce the organization’s first-ever Virtual State Summer Games.

“We have come up with 9 different events to choose from,” Schuster said. “The events have been chosen because they can be done at home with minimal equipment. The events are Planking, Speed Dribble, The Standing Long-jump, 150 ft Run Walk or Roll, 75 ft Run Walk or Roll, Wall Sits, Unified Set and Bump, Swimming Kicks and Soccer Juggling.”

Schuster said athletes could enter to compete in as many of the events as they would like and could receive video training from May 4 through May 15.

“Some of our #SOMOatHome instructors and athlete leaders will be leading sessions those two weeks specifically to get you {the athletes) in shape for these events starting May 16,” Schuster said. “So tune in to our Facebook account at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day and visit somo.org/at home to watch the videos afterwards if you can’t join us live.”

Athletes are required to record their results by writing them down or videotaping themselves performing the event. By 6 p.m. May 18, all athletes must be registered online and have all of their results and videos submitted.

For more information on #SOMOatHome and the Virtual State Summer Games, visit somo.org/virtualsummergames and follow Special Olympics Missouri on Facebook.

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