Bank of America Donates $500,000 to Support Special Olympics Team USA for Upcoming 2007 World Summer Games
Country Star Jo Dee Messina Announces Team USA Coaches

AMES, Iowa, July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Special Olympics announced today that Bank of America has donated $500,000 to support Special Olympics Team USA, a group of approximately 400 athletes and 170 coaches selected to represent all 50 United States in the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, People's Republic of China.

The announcement was made today, the closing day of the 2006 Special Olympics USA National Games in Ames, Iowa, at which Special Olympics also revealed the Team USA head coaches for individual sports.

Bank of America is a long-standing supporter of Special Olympics. The company's donation to Team USA will be used to assist in the coaching and training of Team USA athletes as well as transporting the delegation to Shanghai for the World Summer Games. Additionally, Bank of America employees will volunteer at various local Team USA events.

"Team USA athletes share the same ideals that guide Bank of America associates -- dedication, performance and teamwork," said Andrew Plepler, president, Bank of America Charitable Foundation. "We are proud to support Special Olympic athletes, and their skill, determination and courage, as they pursue excellence at the 2007 Games in China."

Country superstar Jo Dee Messina, an Official Team USA spokesperson, made the announcement. As the Team USA spokesperson, Messina will serve as an honorary member of Team USA.

"Special Olympics is extremely grateful for Bank of America's support and contribution. Their generosity affords the country's most inspiring athletes with an opportunity to show the world the true abilities of athletes with intellectual disabilities at the highest level of Special Olympics competition," said Bob Gobrecht, Managing Director, Special Olympics North America. "We are also thrilled to have such a talented group of coaches to help these fine athletes perform to their personal best."

Team USA selected the top coaches from various US Programs to serve as Head Coaches for Individual Sports where their duties will include organizing, preparing, and providing technical and administrative support to the athletes and coaches of their respective sport as they prepare for the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

    Team USA Head Coaches For Individual Sports
    Aquatics:          Debra "Debbie" Doman (North California)
    Athletics:         Catherine "Cathy" Harper (Illinois)
    Bocce:             Margaret Ann "Maggie" Dittburner (Illinois)
    Bowling:           Dennis Story (Oklahoma)
    Cycling:           Cindi Hart (Indiana)
    Equestrian:        Julie Coon (Kentucky)
    Golf:              Debra Schultz (Michigan)
    Gymnastics:        Renee Manworren (Texas)
    Powerlifting:      Chaka Sutton (Colorado)
    Roller Skating:    Jack Muransky (Ohio)
    Sailing:           Jack Yoes (Texas)
    Tennis:            Nancy Hoekstra (Illinois)

At the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games, Team USA will compete in 12 individual sports: athletics, aquatics, bocce, bowling, cycling, equestrian, golf, gymnastics, powerlifting, roller skating, sailing, and tennis, as well as four team sports: basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball.

The 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in Shanghai, People's Republic of China. The event will mark the first time the World Summer Games will be held in Asia, and only the second time they will be held outside the United States. In addition to some 7,000 athletes, Special Olympics expects the 2007 World Summer Games to draw 40,000 volunteers, 3,500 event officials and thousands of families, volunteers, spectators and journalists from every continent. Special Olympics athletes of all ability levels will compete in 20 different Olympic-type sports including aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, football (soccer), tennis and volleyball.

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Through year-round sports training and athletic competition and other related programming for 2.25 million children and adults with intellectual disabilities in more than 150 countries, Special Olympics has created a model community that celebrates people's diverse gifts. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. There is no cost to participate in Special Olympics. Visit Special Olympics at

About Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk-management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving more than 54 million consumer and small business relationships with more than 5,700 retail banking offices, more than 16,700 ATMs and award-winning online banking with more than 19 million active users. Bank of America is the No. 1 overall Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in the United States and the No. 1 SBA lender to minority-owned small businesses. The company serves clients in 175 countries and has relationships with 98 percent of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 79 percent of the Global Fortune 500. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE:BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.


Source: Special Olympics

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