Athletes to Compete in Special Olympics Texas Summer Games in Arlington May 25-28

Special Olympics Texas’ 48th annual Summer Games will return to The University of Texas at Arlington and surrounding area venues from Thursday, May 25 to Sunday, May 28.

The four-day event is SOTX’s largest competition of the year, featuring nearly 3,000 athletes from all around the state of Texas. All events are free and open to the public.

Competitors will participate in one of six sports: Athletics (track & field), Basketball, Cycling, Gymnastics, Soccer or Tennis. They will be supported by more than 600 coaches and 3,750 volunteers. Gymnastics will be held at Rockwall High School on Saturday, May 27.

Qualifying athletes are at least 12 years old and have been training for their sport for a minimum of 12 weeks, while also participating at an area-level competition. Lorretta Daves, an 80-year-old woman from Duncanville, is the eldest athlete in this year’s event. She will be competing in the softball throw.

For the first time, the Athletics competition will include a Unified Champion Schools Quadrathlon. Six school districts will bring two athletes and two Unified Partners – participants without intellectual disabilities. Together the four will compete as a team, with each person participating in the 100m Run, 200m Run, Mini Javelin and the 4x100m Unified Relay. The scores will be tallied using a point system much like a Pentathlon.

The Opening Ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, May 26 at UT Arlington’s Maverick Stadium. The festivities will be co-emceed by NBC 5 Chief Meteorologist David Finfrock and Lubbock-area SOTX athlete and Global Messenger Ben Garcia, while Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden will declare the Games officially open.

All athletes will parade into the stadium with their teams and will be formally introduced to the crowd before the torch – Flame of Hope – is passed and the cauldron is lit, signifying the official start of the 2017 Summer Games.

Volunteers will serve in numerous capacities, including: as officials, scorekeepers, athlete escorts, award presenters and administrative support services. Volunteer opportunities are still available, especially for Track on Sunday, May 28. To sign up for a shift, click here or contact Judy Yoshimaru at  Fans in the Stands are also needed to cheer on the athletes.

For a complete schedule of events and all information regarding the 2017 Summer Games, click here.