By Jacob Mathias
Nearly 2,000 athletes are preparing themselves for the Special Olympics State Summer Games at the UW- Stevens Point June 4-6.
“With the sports comes so much more; the friendship, the camaraderie and everything else that they gain,” said Jerry Lyon, Wisconsin Special Olympics North Central Regional Athletic Director. “Being a part of something, being a part of a team and showing the community at large and showing the rest of the world what they’re abilities are. It’s a great event, it’s a great time and I encourage everybody to come out and check it out.”
This is the 36th year UWSP has hosted the state summer games.
“We have a longstanding tradition with UWSP…The community as a whole has embraced this event every year with the number of volunteers that come out,” said Lyon . “It’s a great fit for us with what we’ve built here.”
The event begins with a parade of all the athletes on June 4, at 6:30 PM on the Colman Track. For the next two days, athletes will compete in swimming, track and field, soccer and weight lifting events.
Over 800 volunteers and 600 coaches come together to make the event a success every year.
Lyons said more volunteers are always needed and can sign up at the Wisconsin Special Olympics website but are happy to take walk-ins as well.
Free health services provided the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes are available to athletes and include dental exams by Delta Dental, hearing exams by the UW Audiology Clinic, eye exams by the Lions Club International Opening Eyes program and health promotion classes teaching athletes about nutrition, tobacco avoidance and sun safety. The Healthy Athletes services will be held in the Health Enhancement Center at UWSP.
Aquatic events are held at the HEC pool, shot put and high jump at the HEC indoor track and power lifting at the nearby Stevens Point YMCA. Soccer fields are located on the corner of Maria Dr. and Illinois Ave and the wheelchair and walking races will be at the Colman Track on the corner of Maria Dr. and Reserve St.
For full details and event schedules, or to volunteer, visit the Wisconsin Special Olympics website here.