In an exhilarating celebration of athleticism, determination, and inclusivity, Special Olympics Illinois is set to kick off its 43rd annual Winter Games in the picturesque city of Galena. More than 325 athletes from across the state will gather from February 6 to February 8, showcasing their prowess in Alpine skiing and snowshoeing at two premier venues, Chestnut Mountain Resort and Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa.
Special Olympics Illinois expresses gratitude to the city of Galena for hosting the Winter Games for the past 42 years. This annual event serves as a powerful connection to the Special Olympics movement, bringing together athletes with intellectual disabilities from all corners of Illinois. The Winter Games provide a platform for these athletes to showcase their skills, compete in various winter sports, and earn recognition for their hard work.
Dusty Dickens, who will be participating in alpine skiing this week, is “excited to compete in Alpine skiing and to hang out with my team. We have fun skiing, dancing, and eating together. And we meet different teams.”
Pete Beale-DelVecchio, President & CEO of Special Olympics Illinois, shared this sentiment and provided his thoughts on the event:
“The Winter Games are truly exciting and represent one of our strongest connections to the Special Olympics movement. This competition brings together athletes with intellectual disabilities from all over Illinois to demonstrate their skills, compete in various winter sports, and earn awards for their hard work. Throughout the next three days, we will celebrate these athletes as they unleash their determination and showcase their ability to ‘DO.’”
The festivities will commence with the Opening Ceremony and Parade of Athletes in downtown Galena at 5:30 PM on Tuesday, February 6. The Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run officers will play a crucial role in the ceremony, passing the torch to the participating athletes. These athletes will carry the torch along its path, ultimately lighting the cauldron that will hold the Flame of Hope throughout the Winter Games.
Tuesday, February 6: 1:00 PM– 3:00 PM
Wednesday, February 7: 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Thursday, February 8: 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Tuesday, February 6: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Wednesday, February 7: 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Thursday, February 8: 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
(*Times tentative and subject to change)
The Winter Games promise an atmosphere of camaraderie, sportsmanship, and joy. Spectators are encouraged to join the celebration, witness the incredible performances, and support these inspiring athletes. As the Winter Games unfold in Galena, let us come together to cheer for the triumph of determination, showcasing the extraordinary abilities of these athletes who exemplify the spirit of "DO" in every challenge they face.