Stillwater Welcomes Special Olympics Summer Games

Ponca City Now - May 15, 2024 5:43 am

(Stillwater, OK) – The City of Stillwater and Oklahoma State University welcome the return of athletes, coaches, staff and supporters for the Special Olympics Summer Games, May 15-17, with this year’s theme “Celebrating 55 Monster Years: Keep on Truckin!’”

There are currently more than 4,600 athletes, making this the largest Special Olympics Summer Games in the country. This is the 39th Summer Games hosted at OSU with the City of Stillwater and the 55th anniversary of the annual event in Oklahoma.

“Our athletes look forward to competing in these games and work hard to prepare for this annual event,” said Special Olympics Summer Games Director Jim Scott. “Athletes are not the only ones who benefit from the Summer Games and other similar events. We are increasing opportunities for healthier communities by cultivating understanding and inclusion.”

Athletes will compete in three full days of competitions that include athletics (track and field), bocce, cornhole, golf, powerlifting and unified softball. Participants will have the opportunity to experience Olympic-style ceremonies, an Olympic Village and several fun activities such as Stars of the Future (age 8 and younger) and motor activities.

OSU has increased opportunities through development of the first Special Olympics Unified college program in Oklahoma in 2022. The program provides opportunities for adult Special Olympic athletes to compete alongside Unified partners who are OSU students, staff and faculty in a variety of sporting events.

“For over 20 years now, Summer Games has been some of my favorite days to be on the OSU campus. Summer Games expands the Cowboy welcome to thousands of athletes, partners and families every May,” said Dr. Jennifer Jones, OSU Director of the Center for Developmental Disabilities. “I am thrilled that our OSU Unified team will be participating for the second year in Summer Games.”

Through OSU Unified, the university welcomes nearly 100 adult athletes for weekly OSU Unified intramurals. There are weekly opportunities to participate every Thursday evening in addition to the Special Olympics Summer Games in May.

“Oklahoma State University has been hosting the Special Olympics Oklahoma Summer Games for close to four decades, and it’s the perfect partnership. It really is the epitome of the Cowboy Code. The athletes and the volunteers end each day of the games knowing they gave it all they had, and they finish what they start. It’s a time of overcoming, belonging and celebration,” First Cowboy Darren Shrum said.

“These competitors and volunteers are honorary Cowboys while they’re here, and we are delighted to be part of something that is so meaningful.”

The first Special Olympics Games started in 1968 in Chicago by founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Today, all 50 states and more than 4.4 million athletes participate.

The Special Olympics Summer Games is supported by volunteers and advocates from COS, OSU and community members. Competition information and updated schedules are available online at: https://www.sook.org/.

 

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