Special Olympics athletes from four counties to compete in largest area event of the year - The 2016 Spring Games

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[April 22, 2016]  DECATUR - Families, volunteers and spectators will be cheering on men and women, boys and girls – all Special Olympics athletes - as they compete in the largest Area event of the year for Special Olympics Illinois Central/Area 10. The annual Spring Games takes place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 30 at Warrensburg-Latham High School in Warrensburg. The public is invited to watch the competition and experience the joy of achievement by Special Olympics athletes. Central/Area 10 is composed of Christian, Logan, Macon and Moultrie counties.

At the Central/Area 10 Spring Games, approximately 300 athletes are expected to compete in athletics (track & field), the most popular of 19 sports offered by Special Olympics Illinois. The event begins at 9 a.m. with an Opening Ceremony. Competition follows immediately and will conclude around 3 p.m. All athletes will march in the parade of athletes and recite the Special Olympics oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” The running of the torch with the “Flame of Hope” and the lighting of the cauldron signifies the opening of the games. Among local dignitaries are 4th Degree Knights of Columbus, Mayor Corey Maloney, Fire Chief Keith Hackl, Police Chief Greg Wheeler and officers of the Warrensburg Police Department who will escort the torch runners.

Athletes will compete in the 50-, 100-, 200-, 400-, 800- meter runs; standing and running long jumps; shot put; tennis and softball throw; 100, 400-, 800- meter walk races; wheelchair competitions and assisted races.) Athletes compete in divisions by gender and ability levels.
Sponsors for the Special Olympics Illinois Area 10 Spring Games are: Knights of Columbus, Warrensburg-Latham High School, Hicks Gas, One Source, McDonald’s, Carpet Weaver’s, St. Mary’s Hospital, Millikin University, Monsanto Together and AMBUCS.

To compete in the Special Olympics Illinois Area Spring Games, athletes must train for eight weeks. Athletes who win a gold medal at these Area games qualify to compete in the Special Olympics Illinois State Summer Games to be held June 10-12 on the campuses of Illinois State University in Normal and Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. More than 3,700 athletes from around the state are expected to compete in Summer Games.

Special Olympics Area Director Joanie Keyes said the Spring Games could not go on without generous volunteer support: “We rely on volunteers to help run every aspect of Spring Games. But even more importantly, the athletes look forward to the friendship and encouragement they receive from the volunteers.” Students of Warrensburg-Latham High School, Eisenhower High School, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Exelon, AMBUCS and the Knights of Columbus will be volunteering at the Spring Games.

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The Law Enforcement Torch Run, Illinois Knights of Columbus and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois are Official Partners of Special Olympics Illinois

About Special Olympics Illinois

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for more than 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 20,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics promotes acceptance for all and transforms lives by empowering people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support. If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact a local Special Olympics agency or the Special Olympics Illinois Area 10 office at 217-428-9255 or visit the website at www.soill.org.

[Joanie Keyes, Area Director]


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