4,100 Athletes to Compete in Summer Games at ISU, IWU
NORMAL – On the track, in the pool, the gym or on the fields, 4,100 athletes from across the state will compete in the annual Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games on June 12-14 at the Illinois State University campus in Normal and Illinois Wesleyan University campus in Bloomington. Competition begins at noon Friday, June 12, and concludes by noon Sunday, June 14.
Summer Games is the largest of the more than 175 Special Olympics competitions held throughout Illinois each year. At Summer Games, athletes compete in one of six sports: Aquatics – IWU’s Shirk Center Natatorium; Athletics (track & field) – ISU Track; Bocce – ISU Soccer Fields; Gymnastics – Horton Field House and South Gym; Powerlifting – Kingsley Junior High School Main Gym; and Soccer – Hancock Stadium.
To qualify for State Games, one of the following has occurred: athletes have won gold medals in athletics (track & field) at their Area Spring Games; won gold medals in District competition for gymnastics, bocce or aquatics; or have participated in sanctioned competition or Area qualifiers in soccer or powerlifting.
Sports competition runs from noon to 6 p.m. Friday, June 12; 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 13; and 7:30 a.m. to noon Sunday, June 14. The public is invited and encouraged to attend any and all parts of Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games. Complete competition schedule will be posted by 5 p.m. Friday, June 5.
Special Olympics Illinois again is offering Unified® bocce competition, with about 100 people competing. Unified Sports® combine equal numbers of Special Olympics and non-Special Olympics athletes of similar age and ability on teams that compete against other Unified Sports® teams. Unified Sports® expand sports opportunities for athletes seeking new challenges and dramatically increases integration in the community.
In addition, there will be a Special Olympics Young Athletes Culminating Event from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, June 12, at the U-High Practice Field. Special Olympics Young Athletes is a sports play program for children with intellectual disabilities and their peers, designed to introduce them to the world of sports prior to Special Olympics eligibility at age 8. The Special Olympics Young Athletes Program was created to meet the physical and developmental needs of children ages 2 to 7. Stations at Summer Games will be running, jumping, striking, kicking, balancing, throwing, catching and an obstacle course. Again this year, 6- and 7-year-olds will be able to participate in the 50-meter run (10 a.m. Saturday), tennis ball throw (12:20 p.m. Saturday) and soccer skills (1 p.m. Saturday). Times are tentative.
In the best Olympic tradition, the Opening Ceremony begins with the Parade of Athletes and Honorary Coaches into ISU’s Hancock Stadium at 8 p.m. on June 12. The Special Olympics flag will be brought into the stadium by Illinois athletes and coaches who will be participating in the Special Olympics World Games 2015 in Los Angeles July 25-Aug. 2.
The pomp and ceremony continues with the entry of the final leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run®. With lit torches held high, officers representing each of the 23 legs of the Torch Run will enter the stadium and pass the torch to athletes from Team Illinois who will light the cauldron holding the Flame of Hope, signifying the official opening of Summer Games.
The recitation of the Special Olympics oath – “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt” – will be led by an Illinois World Games athlete. Entertainment during the Opening Ceremony will be provided by the DK Stunt Team, a BMX bike group, with the State Farm Band performing on the track from 7 to 8 p.m.
New this year, the Victory Dance will be held in Uptown Normal from 7:30-9 p.m. Saturday, June 13. The dance gives the athletes a chance to celebrate their accomplishments and to socialize with others from around the state in addition to members of the community.
Again this year, athletes will have the opportunity to participate in four Healthy Athletes programs in the lower level of Redbird Arena:
- The Opening Eyes program provides athletes with a vision screening and eyewear if needed. Opening Eyes screenings will be available from noon to 4 p.m. Friday, June 12, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 13.
- FUNfitness will be available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 13. FUNfitness is a comprehensive physical therapy program designed to assess and improve flexibility, functional strength and balance while educating participants, families and coaches about the importance of flexibility, strength and balance.
- Healthy Hearing screenings will be available from noon to 4 p.m. Friday, June 12, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 13. Healthy Hearing offers tests for cerumen (ear wax) and middle ear tests that are performed by volunteer professionals.
- Special Smiles screenings will be available from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 13. Special Smiles offers free dental screening, oral health information and instructions on brushing and flowing properly to participating Special Olympics athletes, as well as preventative supplies like toothpaste and toothbrushes. Athletes who require follow up dental services are referred to local oral health professionals.
Sponsors of the 2015 Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games are:
2015 Gold Medal Sponsors:
- Illinois Knights of Columbus
- Law Enforcement Torch Run
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois
2015 Bronze Medal Sponsors:
- American Legion and Auxiliary
- Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Casey’s General Stores
- Normal Firefighters IAFF Local #2442
- State Farm Insurance Companies
2015 Venue Sponsors:
- Alexander’s Steak House
- Avanti’s Italian Restaurant
- Forum Financial
- Town of Normal
- Shop ’n Save
- TD Ameritrade
2015 Olympic Town Sponsor:
- The Snyder Companies
The Illinois Knights of Columbus, Law Enforcement Torch Run® and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois are Official Partners of Special Olympics Illinois.
Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for nearly 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and nearly 21,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics transforms lives by empowering people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support. If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at www.soill.org.
For advance information about Summer Games or Special Olympics Illinois, contact Michele Evans at (309) 888-2573 or Alexandra McMillin at (630) 942-5621. During Summer Games, June 12-14, you may contact Alexandra on cell phone 312-502-7954 or Michele on cell phone 309-660-8497.
Summer Games competition venues are closed. Media must check in at the media table in Horton Field House to get a media nametag for admission into competition venues (such as inside the track).