Special Olympics Colorado has announced it will return to Colorado Mesa University and Grand Junction for the 2014 Special Olympics Colorado Summer Games on May 31-June 1. The announcement was made last week at the Hamilton Recreation Center on CMU's campus where representatives from Special Olympics Colorado and supporters came out to cheer on athletes participating at the annual Western Area Basketball Championship.
The return of the summer games, a state championship event for five sports, to Grand Junction is significant and supports the organization's vision in providing quality competition, facilities and social experiences for its athletes.
The summer games are the largest Special Olympics sporting event of the year in the state of Colorado. The two-day event will bring together the state's top athletes performing in track and field, soccer, swimming, gymnastics and powerlifting. More than 1,200 athletes, 500 volunteers, families, supporters and sponsors were on campus for the weekend's events last year. This year's festivities will kick off with the opening ceremonies on Saturday, May 31, at 10 a.m. All five sports will be in action throughout the day Saturday and into mid-day Sunday. Saturday's events are highlighted by the victory celebration which includes the athlete dance and a fireworks show, each of which is free and open to the public. All competitions and opening ceremonies will also be free and open to the public.
"Our first year with Special Olympics summer games in Grand Junction was overwhelmingly positive, from competitions in the state's finest facilities to the response from the Grand Junction community," said Special Olympics Colorado president and CEO Mindy Watrous. "We encourage people to come out again and cheer on our athletes as they showcase their abilities. The enthusiasm from the large crowd at opening ceremonies was heartwarming."
"It was gratifying to see how everyone embraced the Special Olympics summer games last year when the event was held at CMU for the first time. Initially there was concern about our ability to provide enough volunteers; the reality turned out to be that we had more volunteers than we had jobs for them to do," said CMU president Tim Foster. "I know we were hoping for a return engagement this year, and I think a lot of folks in the community shared our hope. We are very pleased to have the competition coming back to our campus and to our community."
Special Olympics Colorado event organizers are looking to enhance and grow Olympic Town with additional interactive booths and vendors. The organizers are also looking for individuals with a medical background interested in volunteering with the games' healthy athletes screenings that weekend.
The venues for competition in 2014 are: the El Pomar natatorium (aquatics), Maverick Center gymnasium (gymnastics), Stocker Stadium (track and field), and the soccer fields, while the venue for power lifting will be confirmed in the coming weeks. The victory celebration dance will again be held in the University Center Ballroom and is open to the public.blog comments powered by Disqus