Nike has donated $175,000 to Partner with Special Olympics Oregon in creating “NikeGO Special Olympics Oregon Youth Games. The first-of-its-kind event will bring more than 500 special athletes to the Nike campus for one-day events in May and October, 2007.

“Here at Nike, one of our core beliefs comes from one of our founders, Bill Bowerman, and it is that, if you have a body, you are an athlete,” said Gary DeStefano, president of Global Operations. “You see that represented in the energy, enthusiasm and spirit of Special OlympicAthletes.”

DeStefano continued, “I couldn’t think of a better partner for NikeGO, our signature community program designed to get kids – all kids – more physically active. We think this exciting new Special Olympics program will help us give more kids that special sense of accomplishment that comes from sports and competition,” he said.

The program will offer youth between the ages of eight to 19 with intellectual disabilities a chance to learn a prospective sport and to participate in the unique Special Olympics experience. The one-day clinics will feature skill development, sports competitions, and activities for youth with special needs and their families. The day will culminate with a closing ceremony where each athlete will receive an award and recognition.

“This exciting initiative between Nike and Special Olympics Oregon is a huge milestone for our organization’s major growth initiative. We are working to provide Special Olympics programs to thousands more individuals in Oregon then ever before – particularly youth,” said Margaret Hunt, Chief Executive Officer of Special Olympics Oregon.”Mental Disability is the largest disability population in the country, and our work in Oregon with Nike to expand our programs and services is critical to not only our state, but also to Special Olympics worldwide.”

The first event will be held Saturday, May 12, and will feature track and field, softball and golf. The second event is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 6, and will feature basketball, soccer and bocce ball. These games will also be staged in 2008 at dates yet to be determined.