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Special Olympics brings inspiring competition to Normal

Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 11:02 PM CDT
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NORMAL (Heart of Illinois ABC) - The Twin Cities are full of the spirit of sportsmanship this weekend, as athletes come from across the state for a different kind of competition.

The Special Olympics Summer Games are officially underway, kicking off Friday and carrying through Sunday. According to the official website, the Summer Games is one of 13 state sports competitions, hosting championship level competition for sports like bocce, powerlifting, soccer, swimming, and artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. That’s along with the Young Athletes Program, which offers soccer individual skills, a 50 meter run, and softball.

Illinois State University has hosted the event since 1977, with competitions happening around the area. This year, that includes venues like Kingsley Junior High School and Normal Community High School.

For volunteers, it’s an experience they can’t help but feel rewarded being a part of when they see the work of the athletes paying off.

“They work so hard, and it doesn’t matter if they’re eight years old to 73, 74 years old, they cross that finish line and they’re happy.,” says Steve Feldman, one of the Track Directors for Special Olympics Illinois. “It’s really nice to see.”

Official event information says around 4,000 athletes were expected to participate, with over 1,700 coaches and 2,500 volunteers taking part.

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