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Special Olympics Ohio welcomes new CEO, Kraig Makohus

Special Olympics Ohio is pleased to welcome Mr. Kraig Makohus as the new Chief Executive Officer of the organization.

Makohus comes to Special Olympics Ohio with more than 20 years of experience working with individuals with intellectual disabilities to improve their quality of life and opportunities through work in the areas of residential, vocational, employment and recreational services, including leadership positions with Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania and the Spina Bifida Association of Western Pennsylvania. Most recently, Mr. Makohus served as President and CEO for Special Olympics D.C., prior to that he served nearly six years with Special Olympics Pennsylvania, with a focus in the Greater Pittsburgh market.

Special Olympics Ohio Board Chair Steve Pleasnick said, “On behalf of the Special Olympics Ohio Board of Directors, we are very pleased that Kraig has agreed to join our movement and take the reins from Bob Rickard.” Rickard retired in May after 37 years leading Special Olympics Ohio. Makohus added, “It’s a humbling opportunity to lead this program and build off of the tremendous legacy that Bob Rickard has built to serve the 23,000 athletes in Special Olympics Ohio”.

Kraig holds an MBA from Waynesburg University and a BA in Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

2016 State Summer Games

To see more photos from the 2016 State Summer Games, click here.

They came from 99 different local organizations in Ohio to compete for the gold in 11 different sports. More than 2,600 Special Olympics Ohio athletes were a part of the 47th Special Olympics Ohio State Summer Games June 24th-26th in Columbus. Athletes and coaches enjoyed a weekend of competition and camaraderie on the campus of The Ohio State University (where, for the past 45 years, most SOOH Summer Games competitions and participant lodging have been hosted). In addition to sports competitions, athletes, coaches, and supporters enjoyed activities like Tent Town, a dance, movie night, a Columbus Crew SC Soccer match, and a Columbus Clippers baseball game.

Huge thanks to the coaches, families and friends of athletes, and to the more than 3,000 volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the 2016 State Summer Games a success. And, last but certainly not least, to the athletes: THANK YOU for your dedication, determination, and sportsmanship.

Joe Haden and Cleveland Browns Fans #Give10 for Special Olympics

Some fans of Special Olympics Ohio and the Cleveland Browns were able to #Give10 and help out at the State Summer Games. As a part of the Browns’ First and Ten initiative, fans are encouraged to give back to their communities. These fans helped to prepare thousands of lunches for athletes and coaches. If it wasn’t for volunteers, there would not be a Special Olympics Ohio. Immense gratitude goes out to the more than 12,000 volunteers involved with Special Olympics Ohio athletic and fundraising events throughout the year!

And check out the video message that Browns player Joe Haden recorded for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 State Summer Games:

30th Anniversary Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Ohio

The 2016 Ohio Law Enforcement Torch Run presented by The Kroger Company definitely epitomized the phrase “30 Years Strong!” For the thirtieth year in a row, more than 2,000 of the Buckeye State’s finest law enforcement representatives carried the Flame of Hope through more than 150 communities, creating awareness of Special Olympics and raising more than $80,000 for Ohio’s Special Olympics athletes.

The Torch Run’s Final Leg culminated with hundreds of Guardians of the Flame from all over the state running, bicycling, riding motorcycles, on horseback, and even in a helicopter to pass the Flame of Hope to Special Olympics athletes at Opening Ceremonies of the Ohio State Summer Games. The Ohio Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest grass roots fundraiser for Special Olympics Ohio.

Thanks to the Ohio Department of Public Safety for creating and sharing this wonderful video tribute to the Final Leg:

Also, you can see many photos from this year’s Torch Run events here.

Special Olympics Ohio Playing Unified
Special Olympics and Major League Soccer: A Perfect Match

In mid-July athletes and Unified Partners from Special Olympics D.C. (SODC) travelled to Columbus with the D.C. United professional soccer team to cheer on their team in a match against Columbus Crew SC and to face Special Olympics Ohio (SOOH) Unified Soccer team on the pitch during a special night at MAPFRE Stadium. SODC earned a 5-1 victory and all athletes had a great team hanging out with the pro soccer players who cheered them on and even offered a few tips.

Then, on July 26th, Franklin County Flyers athlete Aaron Elman and unified partner Emily Schultz represented Columbus Crew SC in San Jose, California at the third annual MLS Works/Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Game, which is part of the MLS Works/Special Olympics Unified Sports Soccer Exchange Program.

Check out this video recapping all of the great SO-MLS All-Star action!

Photo courtesy of MLS

Special Olympics Ohio and the JCC Maccabi Games

Special Olympics Ohio athletes met some new competitors and friends thanks to a world-class athletic event at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus. Several SOOH Area 6 athletes joined their JCC Maccabi Games counterparts for Unified Sports activities in Kickball, Soccer, Softball, and Volleyball at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus as a part of JCC Cares Day. The Maccabi Games brought hundreds of Jewish teen athletes from the United States, Israel, Mexico, and Canada to Central Ohio to participate in athletic, cultural, and social activities.

Special Olympics Ohio CEO Kraig Makohus said, “We are proud of our legacy of providing a platform for individuals with intellectual disabilities to not only experience joy through the participation in sports, but we also serve as a launching point for their personal growth and service as self-advocates and leaders in their community and state. Unified Sports provides one of the greatest opportunities to break down misconception regarding people with disabilities. It’s through partnerships, like this one with the JCC of Greater Columbus and participation at the Maccabi Games, that the collective voices and actions of individuals with intellectual disabilities will change attitudes and lives through sports”

Cleveland Competitors: Strong Enough to Pull a Plane for Special Olympics Ohio!

The 7th annual CLE Plane Pull on Saturday, July 9th was a big success with 44 teams raising more than $49,000 for Special Olympics Ohio. Here are the winning teams and the time it took them to pull a United Airlines plane twelve feet on the tarmac at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport:

Co-Ed Division: - Cleveland Police Department Co-Ed, 6.40 seconds

Women's Division: - Cleveland Police Dept. Women, 7.13 seconds

Men's Division: - Team Westlake, 5.23 seconds

Public Safety Division: - Cleveland Police Department, 5.68 seconds

Special Olympics Ohio License Plates

It is back!! The next time you renew your license plates, consider upgrading to the Special Olympics Ohio specialty plate. Special Olympics Ohio will receive $15 for each plate sold. We would love to see cars all over Ohio driving around to show support and promote Special Olympics Ohio!

Upcoming State Events

October 1

October 22 - 23

December 3-4

LETR Poker Walk

State Team Bowling    

State Aquatics Meet



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Special Olympics Ohio
Address: 3303 Winchester Pike Columbus, OH 43232
Phone: 614.239.7050
Fax: 614.239.1873
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