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Special Olympics Ohio Summer Games Return

Special Olympics Ohio

Special Olympics Ohio competitions return this month with a different look and more athletes. The summer games typically include about 3,000 athletes for a weekend of events on Ohio State's campus. With Summer Games Reimagined, more than 5,500 athletes will compete in 80 events in their own communities throughout the state. Although the pandemic cut last year's games and caused additional challenges, Special Olympics Ohio board chair Geoff Kunkler says the organization still accomplished a lot.

"We pivoted to completely unknown territory of virtual programming, distributed hundreds of canvasses to athletes across Ohio for the first-ever Special Olympics Ohio Athlete Art Auction, provided nearly 100 vaccinations at Special Olympics vaccination sites thanks to our friends at Rite Aid, and sent athlete and coach Bobby Reidl to the NFL Draft to announce a Minnesota Vikings pick," Kunkler said in the virtual opening ceremony for the summer competition. 

Special Olympics Ohio athletes have already started competing in several events including gymnastics and bowling. The summer games competitions will continue through the month of June.

“While it’s easy to look at everything we are missing this year for State Summer Games, we hope our athletes can look at everything they are gaining instead," Special Olympics Ohio President and CEO, Jessica Stewart said. "We have learned that Special Olympics Ohio is indeed a family! We are ONE community, and we are so happy to kick off this 2021 Summer Games Reimagined. So, please join us in celebrating all of our amazing accomplishments, encouraging our athletes across the state, and supporting our mission as a community.”    

Some local events include:

June 10th, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Strongman Competition at Centennial High School (1441 Bethel Road, Columbus, Ohio 43220)

June 13th, 1pm-5pm, Volleyball Tournament at Volleypark (5501 Sandalwood Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43229)

June 19th, 9:30am-3pm, Track and Field at Hilliard Memorial (2900 Walker Road, Hilliard, Ohio 43026)

June 27th, 1pm-5pm, Art in the Park at Special Olympics Ohio (3303 Winchester Pike, Columbus, Ohio 43232)  

Mike Foley joined WCBE in February 2000, coming from WUFT in Gainesville, Florida. Foley has worked in various roles, from producing news and feature stories to engineering Live From Studio A sessions. A series of music features Foley started in 2018 called Music Journeys has grown into a podcast and radio show. He also assists in developing other programs in WCBE's Podcast Experience.