RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ) – Special Olympics Kentucky’s flagship event will return to Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond for the first time in two years as a one-day event on June 5. canceled for the first time in the history of the program due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 600 athletes from across the state are expected to compete in bocce, rhythmic gymnastics, soccer, swimming or track and field this year.
The Summer Games typically take up an entire weekend and around half the number of athletes competing in 2019 is expected. While things are still different this year than in the past, there is a huge excitement around the Games.
“We are delighted to be back,” said Special Olympics Kentucky President and CEO Trish Mazzoni. “We had no choice but to cancel last year, but that didn’t make this decision any less difficult for anyone, let alone for our athletes who are looking forward to the Summer Games more than n any event of the year. It’s a great feeling to be able to return to Eastern Kentucky University, which we all love so much, and give our athletes the opportunity to compete in the sports they love.
The Summer Games events will begin at 8 a.m. on June 5 with the start of the unified doubles tournament. All other sites will open at 9 a.m.
The Olympic City, which includes several interactive activities for athletes and their families, will once again be part of the Summer Games experience from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Athletes are encouraged to visit the Olympic City when not competing.
The Olympic City is also home to the annual Healthy Athletes Wellness Village. This year’s Healthy Athletes program includes an “Open Eyes” sight screening site; a place for healthy hearing screening; Health Promotions, which offers advice on diet and other healthy lifestyles; and Strong Minds, which promotes the development of active coping skills. All services provided in the Healthy Athlete Village are free for athletes and provided by volunteers from the medical community.
While there is no official opening ceremony for this year’s Summer Games, a pre-Games video will be posted on the Special Olympics Kentucky Facebook Page and Youtube channel at noon on Wednesday June 2.
Photos of all the competitions and other activities of the Summer Games will be available online during the day.
Volunteers are still needed for several Games venues. For volunteer opportunities, contact Kelli Firquin at 800-633-7403 or [email protected]
For more information on the 2021 Special Olympics Kentucky State Summer Games, contact Special Olympics Kentucky Director of Communications, Mark Buerger at 502-695-8222 or email [email protected]