Special Olympics New York “Going Virtual” with Launch of New Health & Fitness Program for Athletes Monday, March 23

Daily Video Content Aims To Keep Athletes Healthy, Fit & Engaged While Training Is Suspended

Albany, NY – Special Olympics New York today announced the launch of an eight-week virtual program to keep its 67,000 athletes healthy, fit and engaged while formal sports training and competition is suspended.

Live webinars will be held every Friday at 11 a.m., with an introductory livestream Friday, March 20.

“While we are all feeling the impact of social distancing and the absence of our typical routines, it is especially difficult for Special Olympics athletes who are prone to feelings of depression and experience a greater health risk when they are inactive,” said Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “This new virtual program is one of several ways we will be keeping our Special Olympics New York family connected, healthy and in good spirits now and for as long as it takes. Thank you to the many experts and volunteers who have stepped up to help us bring virtual content to our athletes at a time when they need it most.”

The program will launch Monday, March 23. Video content for athletes will be posted on the Special Olympics New York YouTube channel every weekday at 11:00 a.m. It will include instruction fitness routines, interactive webinars, educational health and wellness content and sport-focused activities.

The virtual program will be presented in partnership with a growing number of volunteer experts from throughout New York State. The first to sign on was Chris Hughes, Special Olympics New York Powerlifting Coach and member of ABC Sports & Fitness in Latham, NY.

“Our athletes have gone through an amazing transformation – physically, mentally and socially – since they started working out with the Spartans, and we are proud to do what we can to prevent them and their friends across Special Olympics from taking a step backward,” said Hughes. “We’re having a great time making custom content for Special Olympics. We hope all of our clients will find a use for it and join us online.”

Supplemental to the virtual program, Special Olympics New York hosts a #Fit5NY Facebook Group, where a community of hundreds, from athletes and coaches to supporters, staff and volunteers support one another and share best practices.

Virtual Program content will also be made available via the Special Olympics New York social media network on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Volunteers with an expertise in general health and wellness, mental health, fitness, nutrition or sport-specific skills who would like to be involved are asked to contact Leanne Fusco, Statewide Director of Health Programs, at lfusco@nyso.org or 212-661-6783.


About Special Olympics New York

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 67,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with more than 2200 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. For additional information about Special Olympics New York, to learn more about getting involved, or to make a donation, visit www.specialolympicsNY.org.