Hundreds of athletes with intellectual disabilities are arriving in Ames today for the start of the Special Olympics Iowa State Summer Games. Hal Pittman, president and CEO of Special Olympics Iowa, says the events will run through Saturday on the Iowa State University campus.
Pittman says, “We’ll have about 2,700 Special Olympics athletes who will be coming from across Iowa to compete in the State Summer Games.” This is the largest Special Olympics Iowa event held each year, as athletes, families and coaches travel to Ames from every part of the state and all 99 counties. Pittman says it’s their chance to show why they’ve been training, as well as for camaraderie with the Special Olympics community.
“We have more than 80 competitions during the year for our Special Olympic athletes,” Pittman says. “There is a series of area qualifiers so the athletes that will be participating this week will be the best of the best, the champions from their respective areas.”
More than 1,400 coaches and chaperones, along with 2,000 volunteers will donate their time to help make the event a success. All sorts of competitions will be underway at multiple locations.
Athletes of all ages and ability levels will participate in various sports and activities including: aquatics (swimming), athletics (track & field), bocce, cycling, developmental sports, soccer skills, 7-on-7 team soccer, and tennis on the ISU campus. A roller skating competition is also scheduled in Des Moines.
Opening Ceremonies will be held in ISU’s Hilton Coliseum tonight at 7 o’clock. Learn more at: www.soiowa.org
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City