Summer Games is back! And this year was extra special. Special Olympics Minnesota hosted two weekends of competition with over 2,200 athletes, coaches and Unified partners participating in gymnastics, swimming, track & field and basketball for the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The energy was off the charts! The Special Olympics Minnesota community celebrated the return of Summer Games at Celebration Ceremonies on Saturday, June 25 at Stillwater Area High School.
“The last two years have been very difficult for everyone, and we are so proud of each and every one of you for your determination, perseverance and rising above the challenges put before you,” says Dave Dorn, President and CEO of Special Olympics Minnesota. “Welcome back to Summer Games!”
“I had such a great time at the Summer Games for Special Olympics.Mikayla Holmgren, Special Olympics Minnesota athlete
I saw so many friends and made new ones.
Everyone was so happy to be back after three years.”
Both weekends of Summer Games were filled with gold medals, personal records, buzzer beaters and memories to last a lifetime, none of which would be possible without the hundreds of volunteers who shared their time and talents with Special Olympics Minnesota.
“I volunteered at Summer Games for my birthday as a track and field timer,” says Lauren Rice, Summer Games volunteer. “It was the most fun thing I could have done for my birthday, and I cannot wait to go to more events!”
In addition to competition, inclusive health was a focal point of Summer Games. Over two days, more than 1,600 health screenings were conducted in the Athlete Village at Summer Games. Screenings included Healthy Hearing, FUNfitness, Opening Eyes and Special Smiles.
The Minnesota Department of Health was on site offering free COVID-19 tests, masks, vaccines and boosters for anyone interested, furthering Special Olympics Minnesota’s mission of improving the health of individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Thank you to all the athletes, coaches, Unified partners, volunteers and staff who made Summer Games such a success! It was incredible to see the Special Olympics Minnesota community back in action at our largest event of the year.
This Summer Games story is presented by Allianz.