Iowa will be the host for a unique event involving the Special Olympics. Special Olympics President Timothy Shriver announced the first-ever Special Olympics national summer games will be held on the Iowa State University campus in Ames in July of 2006. Shriver says the event will bring some 3,000 athletes from all 50 states, along with 10,000 coaches, family members and friends. Shriver says the national office has been considering holding a U.S.-only summer games for years, as U.S. athletes make up the majority of the international games. The Iowa Special Olympics has held its summer games for the past 18 years, and he says that’s one of the reasons they chose Ames as the site. Shriver says there were several critical qualities in Ames, including the strong Iowa organization that’s expanding. Shriver says the U.S. summer games can be a great example of how people with handicaps can accomplish many things. He says for too many of our citizens with a mental disability, the doors to the schoolhouse, the doors to employment, and the doors to recreation are closed. Shriver says he hopes the games in 2006 send a message to every community in the United States that the time for segregation and rejection is over. Shriver says the message of the games will go beyond the U.S. He says this is a national event and an international event and he says they have work to do to make this event a showcase for inclusiveness. The opening ceremonies for the first Special Olympics National Summer Games will be held July 4, 2006.
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