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Special Olympics Oklahoma Summer Games start Wednesday

Special Olympics Oklahoma
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OKLAHOMA CITY – When the Special Olympics Oklahoma began in 1969, 200 athletes participated. This year more than 5,000 will meet in Stillwater Wednesday through Friday to celebrate the 48th annual Special Olympics Oklahoma Summer Games.

The Special Olympics Oklahoma staff and thousands of volunteers are gearing up for three days full of competitions—Olympic-style ceremonies, Olympic Village, food, housing and other fun activities.

Oklahoma State University and the City of Stillwater are hosting the Summer Games for the 34th year. Athletes will begin arriving in Stillwater on Wednesday morning. They come from 14 geographic areas of the state where they have completed competitions in their local areas.

Special Olympics athletes will compete in the following sports: athletics (track and field), bocce, bowling, golf, horseshoes, powerlifting, 3-on-3 basketball and softball. Other events include motor activities and Young Athletes Program.

The Young Athletes Program gives future Special Athletes ages 3 through 7 (Stars of the Future) the opportunity to experience the atmosphere of Special Olympics events. At this week’s Summer Games, these youngsters experience about a dozen stations, receiving training in athletics events. They get a chance to show off what they have learned when they take to the “Big Track” north of Boone Pickens Stadium.

Opening Ceremonies are slated for 7:30 p.m. at Gallagher-Iba Arena with the parade of athletes. This year’s theme for the Opening Ceremonies is “Pirates: Sailing for the Gold.”

The Law Enforcement Torch Run will escort the athletes, carry the Flame of Hope, and rappel into Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Torch Run is the movement’s largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle. At its most basic level, the Torch Run is an actual running event in which officers and athletes run the “Flame of Hope” to the Opening Ceremonies of local Special Olympics competitions, state, provincial Games, and National Summer and Winter Games.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run of Oklahoma was started in 1986. There are currently over 140 participating agencies in Oklahoma who in 2015, raised more than $450,000 for Special Olympics Oklahoma through merchandise sales and local fundraising events.

The Closing Ceremonies will be held at approximately 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Stillwater High School Stadium although some competitive events will be held on Friday. Festivities include recognition of the 2017 award winners, and extinguishing the Special Olympics flame. The ceremonies will be held during the Summer Games Dance.

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Ray Dozier

Ray Dozier is the author of Legends of Oklahoma Sooners Football and two editions of The...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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