The opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics Iowa Summer Games are scheduled for Thursday in Ames.

Karen Whitman, spokeswoman for Special Olympics Iowa, says this marks the first time since 2019 that this will be an in-person event for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

“In the last two years, we held our virtual Summer Games which just isn’t quite the same as being in person on the Iowa State campus and getting to be with friends and coaches and everything in person,” Whitman says. “So we are so excited to be back like we were in 2019 and for many years before that.”

The events at ISU run through Saturday and there’s a full schedule. “We are going to have a 1,800 athletes competing in six different sports,” she says. “Those sports include bocce, cycling, soccer, swimming, track and field, and tennis.”

Something new this year is the Little Feet Meet, special track and field events for special athletes between the ages of two and seven.

(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)