Special Olympics Illinois Athletes to Compete in State Winter Games


Opening Ceremonies in Historic Downtown Galena; Volunteers Still Needed for All 3 Days

NORMAL, Ill. – More than 375 athletes from around the state (see list of athletes expected to compete in Winter Games) will compete in three sports at the annual Special Olympics Illinois State Winter Games Feb. 4-6 in Galena. Competition is scheduled to begin at noon Tuesday, Feb. 4, and will conclude about 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb 6. The Illinois Knights of Columbus are the Presenting Sponsor for Winter Games.

During Winter Games, athletes will compete in the sports of alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Chestnut Mountain Resort in Galena. Volunteers are still needed for all three days of competition. If interested, please contact Brianna Beers at 847-845-6481.

In the past, Winter Games also included figure skating and speed skating. Special Olympics Illinois has added a Skating Championships event Feb. 19-20 in Romeoville. The skating sports were given their own competition event in hopes of increasing interest and participation in those two sports.

Opening Ceremonies for the Winter Games again will be in downtown Galena on Tuesday, Feb. 4. Opening Ceremonies – from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. – are a highlight of the Winter Games. At Opening Ceremonies, athletes will recite the Special Olympics oath: Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt. Community members are invited to attend Opening Ceremonies and the competitions to cheer on the athletes.

The parade of athletes will move through downtown Galena before Opening Ceremonies, ending in front of the Old Post Office on Green Street. Athletes, coaches, family members and volunteers will have time to shop and take in the sites of historic Galena before Opening Ceremonies and then will eat dinner at local restaurants after the ceremonies.

Winter Games is one of 180 Special Olympics competitions held each year throughout the state. Competition gives athletes the opportunity to demonstrate the sports skills they have developed through training. To compete in the Winter Games, athletes must have trained for at least eight weeks and qualified through one of 18 Areas in the state.

“We are pleased to be returning to the Galena area for our Winter Games and to downtown Galena for our Opening Ceremonies,” says Dave Breen, President and CEO of Special Olympics Illinois. “Special Olympics athletes always appreciate the warm hospitality and volunteer efforts seen in the area. The Special Olympics Illinois Winter Games provide athletes with an opportunity to demonstrate the sports skills they’ve mastered through competition, while using the social skills they’re constantly improving by meeting new people and renewing old friendships.”

Special Olympics Illinois 2014 Winter Games would not be possible without the time and support of the volunteers and the following sponsors:

2014 Winter Games Presenting Sponsor:  Illinois Knights of Columbus

2014 Winter Games Gold Medal Sponsors: Law Enforcement Torch Run and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois

2014 Cross-Country Venue/Reception Sponsor:  Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, Galena                                            

2014 Media Sponsor: Galena Gazette

Illinois Knights of Columbus, the Law Enforcement Torch Run and Blue Cross Blue Shield 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 21,500 Traditional Athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 18,500 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, allowing them 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.



Barbara DiGuido, 630-942-5610
Michele Evans, 309-888-2573