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Brave in the Attempt : Celebrating 50 Years of Special Olympics Oregon at Oregon Historical Society

Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Celebration at Oregon Historical Museum Portland Oregon

Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Open House Oregon Historical Society Museum May 21 2022

For fifty years, Special Olympics Oregon has changed history for the better for countless athletes, their families, and volunteers.”
— Director and longtime SOOR fan and supporter, Kerry Tymchuk

PORTLAND, OREGON, USA, May 13, 2022 / -- Special Olympics Oregon (SOOR) is proud to announce an open house for The Oregon Historical Society’s (OHS) Brave in the Attempt exhibit, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics Oregon, on Saturday, May 21, 2022 from 10:00am to 1:00pm.

The traveling exhibit is sponsored by Kerry and Becky Tymchuk and the Austin Family.

“For fifty years, Special Olympics Oregon has changed history for the better for countless athletes, their families, and volunteers,” says OHS Executive Director and longtime SOOR fan and supporter, Kerry Tymchuk. “The Oregon Historical Society is honored to host this inspiring exhibit and join with all Oregonians in paying tribute to all those who are ‘brave in the attempt’.”

Brave in the Attempt: Celebrating 50 years of Special Olympics Oregon is a traveling exhibit that consists of pop-up kiosks featuring Special Olympics history and highlighting some of the many people who have helped it flourish.

Among the volunteers featured in the display is Special Olympics Oregon Washington County Aquatics Head Coach Sharron Patapoff, who started the swim program over 40 years ago with a handful of athletes and oversaw the largest adaptive swim program for children and adults in the U.S through her work with Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District. “I love knowing that each athlete’s success in swimming transfers to success in many facets of their everyday lives,” says Patapoff, who has also mentored SOOR staff and volunteers.

The OHS exhibit also includes an assortment of memories and memorabilia that highlight the impact SOOR has on the athletes and the Oregon community. Items on display include: the Special Olympics Polar Plunge mascot, the relay torch that journeyed from Greece and lit the cauldron to start the 2015 Special Olympics USA Games in Los Angeles, athletes’ medals and ribbons, uniforms, and a very special portrait of Special Olympics Oregon Coach Doug Trice painted by Athlete Atheena McClaughry.

“We are delighted to have Special Olympics Oregon on display at the Oregon Historical Society celebrating 50 years and thousands of volunteers, families, supporters, and athletes,” says Britt Oase, CEO of SOOR. “We have a wonderful story to share about sport being a catalyst for social inclusion, health, fitness, nutrition, friendships, joy, and connection to community. As we serve children and adults living with intellectual disabilities for their entire lives, we have athletes training and competing today that started in our movement when we first began in 1972! You’ll travel on a journey that sprouted from grassroots and grew into local programs in every county across Oregon as well as over 250 Unified Champion Schools. The only thing more exciting is to hear about our plans for the NEXT 50 years!”

Special Olympics staff, volunteers, coaches and athletes will be at the exhibit during the open house, including gold medalist Henry Meece, who lives in Portland.

Special Olympics is a global movement that seeks to create an inclusive world for all, using sports to break down the stigma and inequities that people with intellectual disabilities face.

SOOR has a statewide reach due to the profound work of volunteers who coordinate community events, support regional competitions that qualify athletes for state games, and run each and every aspect of the 30 local programs.

On display to the public now through May 22 at OHS, the exhibit will travel to libraries, museums, and civic centers across Oregon throughout the year.

About Special Olympics Oregon
Special Olympics Oregon (SOOR) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization incorporated in the state of Oregon to provide sports training and athletic competition for persons with mental disabilities, raising the majority of funds locally through sponsorships, private donations and special events that support 30 programs across Oregon. SOOR is accredited by Special Olympics, Inc. (SOI). A volunteer Board of Directors employs a staff of people to implement the day-to-day operations. The Board provides policy decisions and long-range planning.

About Oregon Historical Society
For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state's collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website (, educational programming, and historical journal make Oregon's history open and accessible to all.

Maddie Kuther
Special Olympics Oregon
+1 503-248-0600
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