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35th Annual Special Olympics Iowa Summer Games May 23-25 at ISU

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 In a little over one week more than 2,600 Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners will converge at Iowa State University for the 35th Annual Special Olympics Iowa Summer Games, May 23 through 25.
 
The Summer Games is Special Olympics Iowa's biggest competition and celebration of the year. On top of the over 2,600 athletes and Unified partners competing for over 4,000 awards, there is also expected to be over 3,000 volunteers, staff and coaches present. Six different sports, including athletics (track and field), bocce, cycling, soccer, tennis and swimming, will see competition during this two-and-a-half day event.
 
The Summer Games will kick off on the morning of Thursday, May 23, with the Torch Run Final Leg bringing the Flame of Hope from downtown Des Moines to Hilton Coliseum.  Competition for both cycling and tennis, singles matches, beginning at 9:00am. Bocce, soccer and race walk will all begin at later times on Thursday in varying locations around the Lied Recreation Center. Singles bocce, tennis doubles, swimming and athletics will take place on Friday, May 24, with athletics competition continuing through Saturday, May 25.
 
The highly anticipated Opening Ceremonies, presented by Hy-Vee, will take place on Thursday evening in Hilton Coliseum. The Opening Ceremonies will begin with a Parade of Athletes and end with the lighting of the Flame of Hope marking the beginning of the 2019 Summer Games.
 
"We have athletes, of all ages, from all across the state coming to Ames next week to compete," said Special Olympics Iowa CEO John Kliegl. "Our athletes train all year for the Summer Games and the time has now come for the athletes to let their skills shine. I could not think of a better place to hold our Summer Games, Ames and Iowa State University have always been tremendous hosts for our Summer Games and truly make the atmosphere one of inclusion for our athletes."
 
Also featured at the games is an Olympic Festival, Healthy Athletes and Fitness Improvement Training (FIT) Program. The Olympic Festival is an area for athletes to relax between competitions and interact with sponsors and partners through games and activities. Healthy Athlete Screenings will provide athletes with an opportunity to be examined by healthcare professionals for eyesight, dental, hearing, overall health and fitness and more.  The Fitness Improvement Training program is designed to assist in improving the fitness, athletic performance and overall well-being of the Special Olympics community.
 
Since 1968, Special Olympics has provided an inclusive culture that stresses athletic excellence, rewards determination, emphasizes health and celebrates personal achievement. The spark that became today's Special Olympics movement ignited at the first 1968 International Summer Games in Chicago, Ill., USA. Special Olympics Iowa was represented by Iowa athletes at those first games.
 
Event Details
What: Special Olympics Iowa Summer Games
When: Thursday, May 23 – Saturday, May 25
Where: Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
 
The Summer Games are open to the public and admission is free. For more event information visit our website at www.soiowa.org or contact Karen Whitman at KWhitman@soiowa.org or 515-986-5520.
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Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA), a statewide nonprofit organization, provides high-quality training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in all 99 counties of Iowa. SOIA offers 23 Olympic-style sports to more than 16,000 athletes and Unified partners year-round.
 
Since 1968, Special Olympics has provided an inclusive culture that stresses athletic excellence, rewards determination, emphasizes health and celebrates personal achievement. Through Special Olympics sports training and competition, children and adults with intellectual disabilities reach their full potential and experience inclusion in their communities every day.