Special Olympics Summer Games bring 2,000 athletes to Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) opened its 44th annual Summer Games on Thursday evening, bringing more than 2,000 athletes to Penn State for three days of competition.

This marks the 26th consecutive year that Penn State is hosting the Summer Games, which also bring more than 2,500 volunteers and 750 coaches. Athletes will compete in events such as aquatics, basketball, bowling, golf, gymnastics and tennis at various locations on campus, including the White Building, McCoy Natatorium, Snider Agricultural Arena and the Intramural Building.

Hundreds of Penn State faculty, staff and students are expected to volunteer each day, according to event director Ed Gannon; nearly 50 student-athletes, representing eight varsity teams, are volunteering.

Preliminary events kicked off Thursday, June 6, before the opening ceremonies on Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Opening ceremonies were emceed by Kellie Goodman Shaffer, executive director at Bedford County Chamber of Commerce, and culminated with the lighting of the Olympic flame. The Olympic torch made its way to University Park via the three-day, 150-mile Be a Fan Torch Run presented by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Hundreds of runners representing more than 40 teams made up of law enforcement officers from across the state brought the torch from home plate at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on June 4 to home plate at Medlar Field on June 6.

On Friday, June 7, final competition will begin at nine venues in individual skills, individual events, relay and team events, and conclude with Closing ceremonies at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8, at Bigler Field. Steve Jones, WKOK 1070 afternoon talk show host, will be the master of ceremonies.

Summer Games 2013 is a qualifier for the 2014 National Games being held in New Jersey from June 14 to 21. The games’ statewide corporate partner is Sheetz Inc., which has backed the event for 21 years and annually gives the Sheetz Family Award of Excellence to one athlete.

Spectators and volunteers are welcomed to join the event, free of charge. For more information about volunteering, call Special Olympics Pennsylvania at 814-234-8750 or visit www.sopasummergames.org.

Special Olympics Pennsylvania provides year-round training and competition in 22 Olympic-type sports to more than 20,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities or closely related developmental disabilities.


Last Updated June 13, 2013