EKU to host return of Special Olympics Kentucky State Summer Games June 5

RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ) – Special Olympics Kentucky’s signature event will return to Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond for the first time in two years as a one-day event on June 5. One year ago, the Special Olympics Kentucky State Summer Games was cancelled for the first time in program history because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 600 athletes from across the state are expected to compete this year in bocce, rhythmic gymnastics, soccer, swimming or track and field.

The Summer Games usually fill an entire weekend and roughly half the number of athletes as competed in 2019 are expected. While things are still different this year than in the past, there is tremendous excitement surrounding the Games.

“We’re ecstatic to be back,” said Special Olympics Kentucky President and CEO Trish Mazzoni. “We had no option but to cancel last year, but that didn’t make that decision any less difficult for anyone, least of all our athletes who look forward to the Summer Games more than any event all year. It’s a great feeling to be able to return to Eastern Kentucky University, which we all love so much, and to give our athletes the opportunity to compete in the sports they love.”

Summer Games events will start at 8 am on June 5 with the beginning of the Unified bocce doubles tournament. All other venues will open at 9 am.

Olympic Town, which includes several interactive activities for athletes and their families, will once again be part of the Summer Games experience from 9 am until 2 pm. Athletes are encouraged to visit Olympic Town when they aren’t competing.

Olympic Town is also the location of the annual Healthy Athletes Athlete Wellness Village. This year’s Healthy Athletes program features an Opening Eyes vision screening venue; a Healthy Hearing screening venue; Health Promotions, which offers advice on diet and other healthy lifestyles; and Strong Minds, which promotes the building of active coping skills. All services provided in the Healthy Athlete Village are free to the athletes and provided by volunteers from the medical community.

While there will be no official Opening Ceremonies at this year’s Summer Games, there will be a pre-Games video released on the Special Olympics Kentucky Facebook page and YouTube channel at noon on Wednesday, June 2.

Photos from all competitions and other Summer Games activities will be available online throughout the day.

Volunteers are still needed for several venues at the Games. For volunteer opportunities, contact Kelli Firquin at 800-633-7403 or kfirquin@soky.org.

For information about the 2021 Special Olympics Kentucky State Summer Games, contact Special Olympics Kentucky communications director Mark Buerger at 502-695-8222 or via e-mail at mbuerger@soky.org.

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