Special Olympics Indiana to Hold 50th Annual Summer Games in Terre Haute
More than 2,700 competitors, 1,500 volunteers, and thousands of coaches, family members, and spectators will come together June 8-10 for state-level competitions in eight Summer Games sports.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — A record 2,745 competitors from across the state are expected to take part in Special Olympics Indiana’s 2018 Summer Games, to be held June 8-10 on and around the campuses of Indiana State University and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
The organization’s largest annual event, the Indiana Summer Games features state-level competition in eight Olympic-type sports, including bocce, bowling, cycling, horseshoes, powerlifting, swimming, track & field, and volleyball. Special Olympics athletes and unified partners representing 64 delegations from every part of the state will compete at the Games, with an additional 1,100 coaches and 1,500 volunteers expected to make the journey to Terre Haute along with family members and supporters. The Games are open to the public and free to attend.
“This weekend is one that every Special Olympics Indiana athlete, coach, parent, and staff member marks on his or her calendar with a gold star when the schedule is released each year, because participation in Summer Games is a one-of-a-kind experience—and it’s not to be missed,” said Jeff Mohler, president and CEO of Special Olympics Indiana. “These Games represent the culmination of a year or more of hard work and preparation, but they are also a showcase for the true spirit of Special Olympics that’s inside each and every one of our athletes.”
Founded in Chicago in 1968 and celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Special Olympics movement came to Indiana the following year when a pair of faculty members at ISU planned the inaugural Indiana Special Olympics Games in the summer of 1969 – making this year’s event the 50th annual Indiana Summer Games. Special Olympics Indiana, a nonprofit organization serving more than 14,000 people with intellectual disabilities annually, will observe its own 50th anniversary in 2019.
A focus of this year’s Summer Games is once again on improving health and fitness through Special Olympics’ Healthy Athletes® and Healthy Communities® initiatives, a goal that will be at the forefront of all Special Olympics programs for the next several years. Free screenings and instruction will be offered to all Summer Games participants in six Healthy Athletes® disciplines, with clinical directors overseeing stations focused on vision, dentistry, podiatry, audiology, physical therapy, and better health and well-being.
In response to a statistic showing that as many as half of all Special Olympics athletes may be wearing improper or ill-fitting footwear (many of them suffering health problems as a result), Finish Line will generously provide a free pair of shoes and socks to all who participate in at least three of the six free screenings. Finish Line is a global partner of Special Olympics International and a champion sponsor of Special Olympics Indiana, also sending hundreds of volunteers to the Indiana Summer Games each year.
Additional activities are scheduled throughout the weekend, including:
- The second annual Run Unified Relay (Friday at 3 p.m.), a special fundraising event centering on a 4 X 100-meter run by eight teams each made up of Special Olympics athletes, law enforcement officers, and supporters from Special Olympics Indiana sponsors. This year’s event will be immediately preceded by a community torch run, stepping off from Pacesetter Sports (2831 S. 3rd St.) and ending with a ceremonial lap around ISU’s Gibson Track.
- Opening Ceremonies at the Hulman Center (Friday at 7:30 p.m.), the official start of the Games featuring live entertainment, the Parade of Athletes, remarks by Indiana State University President Deborah Curtis, the lighting of the “Flame of Hope,” and more.
- Olympic Town, presented by Duke Energy (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), offering a variety of activities for athletes, coaches, and family members including carnival games, souvenirs, and arts and crafts. Healthy Athletes screenings will be conducted in the nearby Health & Human Services Building, with Finish Line shoe distribution to take place in Olympic Town throughout the weekend.
- The Festival of Champions at Olympic Town (Saturday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.), a fun-filled Summer Games party and outdoor dance bringing competitors together for an evening of entertainment between competitions.
For more information about Special Olympics Indiana’s 2018 Summer Games, including the full schedule of events, visit www.soindiana.org/summer-games.
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ABOUT SPECIAL OLYMPICS INDIANA
Special Olympics Indiana is a nonprofit organization that is a part of the global Special Olympics movement, using sport, health, education, and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1969, Special Olympics Indiana has grown to more than 14,000 athletes and unified partners in virtually every county throughout the state. With the support of nearly 10,000 coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics Indiana provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in more than 20 Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities at no cost to the participants. Learn more by visiting www.soindiana.org.
Nathan Barnes, Manager of Grants & Communication
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Kelly Ries, Director of Advancement
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