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Special Olympics Indiana plans virtual summer games

Five weeks of events begin June 12.
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Posted at 8:49 PM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 20:49:09-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Special Olympics Indiana is going virtual for its 2020 summer games.

Thousands of athletes will compete remotely in at-home challenges over a five week span, starting June 12.

Special Olympics made the decision not to hold the summer games in-person because of COVID-19 concerns and restrictions.

It all begins with an online Flame of Hope Torch run and Opening Ceremonies. Both events can be viewed at: https://soindiana.org/

"Special Olympics Indiana exists to provide opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to experience the thrill of competition, the joy of inclusion, and the satisfaction of using their abilities to the fullest potential—both on the playing field and off,” said Jeff Mohler, president and CEO of Special Olympics Indiana.

“This pandemic has caused our athletes to miss out on many of those experiences for the past three months. And though we are working toward a return to in-person activities as soon as it’s deemed safe, we believe this virtual Summer Games Challenge will encourage athletes to stay active while providing something that we all need right now: hope for the future.”

The summer games typically draw nearly 3,000 athletes and several thousand coaches, volunteers, Unified partners, and supporters to Terre Haute each June for three days of state finals competition in eight Olympic-type sports.

This year’s Sports & Fitness Challenge will invite participants and teams representing Special Olympics Indiana’s county programs to be “Unified by Hope” while completing daily challenges in adapted versions of typical Summer Games events and other activities.

Challenges will feature activities that can athletes can do at home, in their neighborhoods, or in parks or other public areas as allowed and while maintaining social distancing protocols. Elements of track and field, bocce, volleyball, basketball, soccer, nutrition, mental health, and general health and fitness will be included.

Awards will be presented to top performers during a closing ceremony and virtual dance party scheduled for July 25. The ceremonies also will be streamed on the organization’s website and Facebook page