Athletes to Compete in Special Olympics Texas Summer Games in Arlington

Articles Special Olympics Texas 05-17-16

More than 2,900 athletes from across Texas are scheduled to compete in the Special Olympics Texas summer games at the University of Texas at Arlington and surrounding venues May 26-29.

The competition,  the largest statewide event for Special Olympics Texas, gives athletes with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to compete on a center stage for the entire state of Texas.

From the Panhandle to the Gulf Coast, these athletes come from 18 regional areas and are to compete in seven sporting events, which include basketball, cycling, tennis, gymnastics, track and field.

“For a lot of them, it’s their dream,” said Steve Helm, Special Olympics Texas Public Relations Coordinator. “This is one way that they’re able to shine.”

Special Olympics Texas participates in more than 300 fundraising efforts throughout the year, including bike races and runs. Ninety-one cents of every dollar donated to the organization goes directly into the program, Helm said.

With these efforts, the organization aims to raise $7.7 million dollars this year to provide and support, top-quality facilities, health programs and additional services for Special Olympic Texas athletes.

The summer games benefit from these fundraising efforts, especially from the Law Enforcement Torch Run, the Special Olympics Texas’ grassroots fundraiser, which generates more than $1 million a year for the organization through various means.

During the Law Enforcement Torch Run, more than 300 police officers, including members of Arlington Police Department and UT-Arlington Police Department, firefighters and members of other law agencies and public safety units from across the state leave a day or two before the competition and run a lit torch from their hometowns to UT Arlington. A parade of officers and the torches plan to arrive at Maverick Stadium at about 10 a.m. Friday, May 27.

“It really is an incredible sight to see,” Helm said.

To learn more about the summer games or to see locations and schedules of events, visit the Special Olympics Texas’ website at sotx.org.

Helm said visitors and community members can support the event by volunteering or just coming to watch the athletes.

“We definitely welcome fans in the stands,” Helm said. “That’s what our athletes love the most.”