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Special Olympics Wisconsin celebrates 40 years of Summer Games at UW-Stevens Point!

By Portage County Business Council

More than 1,300 athletes from across Wisconsin will converge at UW-Stevens Point to compete in swimming, track & field and soccer at the 2019 State Summer Games June 6-9. This is the 40th anniversary of Special Olympics Wisconsin’s largest annual sports event taking place on the UW-Stevens Point campus.

The three-day event officially kicks off on Thursday, June 6 at 6:30 p.m. with the Parade of Athletes and Opening Ceremony. Fans, supporters, volunteers and law enforcement officers will welcome athletes as they enter UW-Stevens Point’s Colman Track for the Opening Ceremony starting at 7:00 p.m.

To celebrate 40 years of calling UW-Stevens Point home for the Summer Games, the Opening Ceremony will be hosted by Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza. UW-Stevens Point Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Al Thompson and legendary UW-Stevens Point basketball coach Jack Bennett will also speak during the Ceremony. The program will also include performances, video tributes, the induction of the two newest members into Special Olympics Wisconsin’s Dennis H. Alldridge Hall of Fame, and additional guest speakers, including actress Amy Pietz. Pietz, who is the sister of a Special Olympics athlete from Milwaukee, is known for her starring roles in the sitcoms Caroline in the City and Aliens in America, as well as her recurring role in the hit comedy, The Office.

“This is always such an exciting time of year for us here at Special Olympics Wisconsin. The Summer Games are the centerpiece of our year-round sports programming. But this year’s event is extra special because we get to celebrate 40 amazing years of the Summer Games happening on the UW-Stevens Point campus. The university and the city of Stevens Point have been such incredible hosts and we hope the community will come out to UW-Stevens Point to see how fun this event is,” said Kathleen Roach, President and CEO of Special Olympics Wisconsin. “Whether it’s as a spectator or volunteer, I guarantee that once you experience a Summer Games at UW-Stevens Point, you’ll be hooked.”

Competition will take place on Friday, June 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 1,357 athletes from 120 agencies across the state will compete in 56 events and a soccer tournament. Competition will also include 11 unified teams competing in the 4×100 meter relay and the 4×100 meter walking relay. Unified teams consist of athletes with intellectual disabilities teamed up with partners without intellectual disabilities.

More than 100 volunteer medical professionals will be on campus to provide free dental, vision, fitness and hearing screenings to Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes as part of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes®. Through the Healthy Athletes program, Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes receive free screenings in a fun, welcoming environment that removes the anxiety and fear individuals with ID often experience when faced with a visit to the doctor or dentist. Athletes will receive giveaways including mouth guards, sports goggles, prescription glasses and more.

More than 600 volunteers are needed to escort athletes to events, present awards and more at the Summer Games. Volunteer and dedicate your time to be a part of something truly special. To sign up, visit https://www.specialolympicswisconsin.org/summer-games/.

Prior to the start of the Summer Games, hundreds of law enforcement officers and civilians will carry the Flame of Hope™ from all corners of Wisconsin in the Final Leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run mostly taking place between June 3-6. The Final Leg will feature runs and bike rides in more than 30 Wisconsin communities, all converging on Stevens Point to kick off the Opening Ceremony of the State Summer Games.

Special Olympics Wisconsin is proud to partner with Mission Partners, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Wisconsin and Kwik Trip, as well as State Games Partners, the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Delta Dental of Wisconsin, and Lions Club International for the 2019 State Summer Games.

About Special Olympics Wisconsin

Special Olympics Wisconsin is a statewide organization of the Special Olympics movement that unleashes the transformative power and joy of sports everyday around the world. Through work in sports, health, education and community building, Special Olympics has been empowering people with intellectual disabilities for more than 50 years, leading to a more welcoming and inclusive society. With the support of donors, coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics Wisconsin provides year-round sports training and more than 100 athletic events in 18 Olympic-type sports to 10,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities. Join our online community by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! For more information, visit SpecialOlympicsWisconsin.org or call (608) 222-1324.