Jay Hoffmeier and his daughter Jackie know a thing or two about gymnastics. For the last 18 years, Jackie has been dancing and spinning her away across the mats, with her dad also her coach calling out tips and advice from the sidelines.
In 1995, Jackie found her niche when she began competing in the Special Olympics Virginia program, just a few short years after her father started coordinating the Special Olympics Winter Championships gymnastics competition in addition to his coaching duties.
Nowadays, it seems the father-daughter duo spend more time on the mats than at home especially of late as they prepare for the 2008 Special Olympics Winter Championships, set for Jan. 18-19 at various venues in Northern Virginia.
My goal is to give these kids something they can be proud of, Jay said. Im so proud of Jackie and all the athletes theyre truly inspirational. They show us every day the value of people with intellectual disabilities and Im happy to have a small part in sharing that important message.
The public is invited to cheer on Jay, Jackie and the more than 200 Special Olympics Virginia athletes during the 2008 Winter Championships, which feature bowling, speed and figure skating and gymnastics competitions. Preliminaries begin Jan. 18, with the Opening Ceremony and Dance, featuring the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron, kicking off at 8 p.m. at Dominion High School in Sterling. Competitions begin Saturday, Jan. 19, at various venues in Northern Virginia. or a full schedule of events and times, visit www.specialolympicsva.org.
Jay and Jackie Hoffmeier are just one of many Special Olympics stories. Meet a few other amazing Winter Championships athletes and volunteers below:
- Meagan Jeffries and Kirsten Stone are friends and figure skaters. This year, theyll be cheered on by their families and directed by their mothers. The duos moms are joining forces in 2008 to direct and coordinate the Winter Championships skating competitions at Ashburn Ice House.
- Since 2002, presenting partner Booz Allen Hamilton has joined forces with Special Olympics to help plan the Winter Championships. Their committee members start working a year ahead of time they coordinate and manage Opening Ceremonies and provide volunteers for many of the competitions. Its amazing to see all the athletes come together at Opening Ceremonies, and during the weekend, said Jose Abiles, a Booz Allen Hamilton employee who built the Olympic Cauldron and Flame for the event. They deserve all this attention and more they are incredible to work with, which makes our commitment even more rewarding.
For a full schedule of the days activities, visit www.specialolympicsva.org.