Special Olympics AND Rowing? Count Me In!

UCanRow2 and Concept2 are headed to the Special Olympics 2014 USA Games!  It’s the first time ever for these national games, and we need your help.

If you’re in the Princeton, NJ area, or could be on Thursday, June 19, we’d love to have you join us for a day you won’t soon forget.  Promise!  Concept2 will give you a cool volunteer t-shirt as a small thank-you, too.  Bonus!

Picture this: 18 ergs hooked up for 500-meter racing, the results running on wide screens,  Special Olympics athletes giving it their all while their coaches, teammates and you cheer them on.  It’s an electric atmosphere that’s hard to describe in words, so take a look at this video  and these photos to get more of the flavor.  

What would you be doing?  We need your help to get athletes signed up to row, give them a super-quick learn-to-row on the erg before they race, get them set up on their machine, and most of all cheer them on and help create that electric atmosphere.

UCanRow2 has been present and accounted for at the Special Olympics Michigan winter and summer games for more than a decade but this is the first time for bringing indoor rowing to the Special Olympics national stage.  To put it mildly we are PUMPED and ready to ROCK THIS ROW.

Sound good?  Better than good? It will be! If you’re interested in helping out, or have questions, drop us an email at info@ucanrow2.com and we’ll get you set up.



Date: Thursday, June 19

Hours: 9:30-5:00

Location: Corporate Park

Meals: Lunch and snacks provided

Have you worked with special olympics or in other areas of adaptive rowing?  We’d love to hear your stories, leave us a comment and tell us more.  

Row on!

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3, 2, 1, GO ROW! Rowing at the Special Olympics

Special Olympics athletes start their rowing raceAnd they’re off! For the 7th straight year we are rowing with the athletes of the Special Olympics Michigan Summer Games. We work a lot of different trainings and events through the year, but this one, and its winter counterpart, are among those we look forward to the most.

As it is for most people, indoor rowing for people with intellectual disabilities is one of the best fitness activities there is. In addition to rowing’s non-impact, total-body fitness benefits, Special Olympics athletes are often drawn to the sport’s rhythmic stroke and the Zen-like sound of flywheels in motion.

And then there’s the competition! Over the course of two days, hundreds of athletes row 500 meters (2-3 minutes) on a Concept2 rowing machine. The fastest times win a special UCanRow2 rowing medal.

Special Olympics athlete celebrates a great row

As far as we know Michigan is the only state that regularly offers demonstrations of indoor rowing at both its winter and summer games (If there are others please let us know!).

We’d like to see the sport grow to other states and countries’ Special Olympics, and maybe even be an official sport of the games one day.

Want to get a taste of what the indoor rowing competition is like? Check out our video from the Winter Games.

If any of this sounds appealing we strongly encourage you to volunteer for your local Special Olympics. The smiles, hugs and high fives are worth their weight in gold. Do you have a Special Olympics experience to share? Love it! Post it to the comments below and tell the world.  Can’t get enough of the photos?  Check out more in our photo album!

Special Olympics indoor rowing race winners

Special Olympics Michigan Officials Eye Indoor Rowing

The efforts of UCanRow2’s Terry Smythe to make rowing on an indoor rowing machine an official Special Olympics sport has drawn the attention of Special Olympics Michigan officials.  In a story summarizing indoor rowing at this year’s Special Olympics Michigan Summer Games the Daily Mining Gazette featured the progress that has been made in the three years since Terry began working towards that goal as part of her role as fitness director for Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital.Terry Smythe helps a Special Olympian with indoor rowing at the Michigan Summer Games

While it is a lengthy process, Terry is confident the goal is attainable.  The first step is for rowing to become an official sport of Special Olympics Michigan, where indoor rowing as been a demonstration event since 2007.  The next step is to present a report to Special Olympics officials summarizing the results of the last three years, with the goal of making indoor rowing an official sport in the Michigan Special Olympics.  After that Terry hopes to use that as a precedent to expand the sport to the national Special Olympics level.

“The country really looks to Michigan for their Special Olympics program,” she said in the Mining Gazette story.

At the Michigan summer games at Central Michigan University hundreds of children of all ages filed through a room equipped with Concept 2 rowing machines to try their hand at rowing 500-meter races against their fellow competitors.  The competitors The indoor rowing machine is easily adapted for all kinds of  users.  Here a Special Olympian in a wheelchair tries it out. were able to race in virtual rowing shells projected on a huge screen set up in the race venue.

Making rowing on a rowing machine an official sport of the Special Olympics would help bring the activity to a broader group of people, Terry said, in addition to raising the standard of excellence for training and performance, which would help advance the sport generally.

The rowing machine is particularly well-suited to Special Olympics athletes because it is fully accommodates each athlete’s level of fitness and ability, while providing a fun and challenging workout.  Athletes return to the rowing venue year after year because they enjoy the special combination of rhythmic synchronicity and physical challenge that the sport of indoor rowing offers.

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