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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-- Special Olympics Pennsylvania will host the 47th Annual Summer Games Thursday through Saturday, June 2-4 on the Penn State campus, for the 29th straight year. The event brings together more than 2,000 athletes, 750 coaches and 1,000 volunteers from across the commonwealth.
Sponsored by SOPA's premier partner, Sheetz, Inc., nearly 50 Penn State student-athletes will be among the volunteers at the Summer Games, which will include competition in aquatics, athletics, basketball, bowling, equestrian, golf, gymnastics, softball and tennis.
Penn State student-athletes from men's and women's basketball, football, women's gymnastics, men's and women's hockey, women's soccer, men's and women's swimming and diving and women's volleyball are among the sports that will be represented among the volunteers at Thursday's opening ceremonies, Friday night's SportsFest, basketball and bowling events.
Preliminary Games competition begins on Thursday with the Opening Ceremonies following at 7:30 p.m. at Penn State's Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The Parade of Athletes is set for 6:45-7:15 p.m. Kellie Goodman Shaffer, President & CEO of the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce and former WTAJ-TV Sports Director will emcee the ceremony.
Thursday's ceremonies will end with the Lighting of the Olympic Torch carried by participants of the sixth annual "Be a Fan" Torch Run. The "Be a Fan" Torch Run is a 3-day, 150 mile run from Pittsburgh to Penn State presented by UPMC. More than 400 runners representing more than 50 law enforcement officers/teams from across the state will participate by carrying the torch from home plate at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on May 31 to home plate at Medlar Field in State College to celebrate and kickoff the 47th Summer Games.
Competition continues on Friday, June 3 starting as early as 8 a.m. at nine venues in individual skills, individual events, relay and team events. Friday will conclude with a Family Ice Cream Social, Sports Fest and Victory Dance on Bigler Field from 7:00-9:30 p.m.
Final competitions and awards are scheduled to take place at each venue between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 4. Closing ceremonies will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Olympic Village within the Pollock Commons-Beaver Quad area. Steve Jones, the voice of the Nittany Lions, will emcee the closing ceremonies. There is no admission fee for any of the events.
Summer Games will also host Healthy Athletes programs in Pollock Commons where health promotion, fun fitness, eye, ear, dental, and podiatry health screenings will be offered. The Healthy Athletes program provides health services and education to Special Olympics athletes free of charge, and is changing the way health systems interact with people with intellectual disabilities. The program has now made Special Olympics the largest public health organization for people with intellectual disabilities in the world.
For more information on the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games or to volunteer at the Games, visit www.sopasummergames.org.
About Special Olympics Pennsylvania
Special Olympics Pennsylvania provides year-round training and competition in 21 Olympic-type sports to nearly 20,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities or closely related developmental disabilities. For more information about how you can help "Reveal the Champion Inside" thousands of Special Olympics athletes, visit www.specialolympicspa.org.