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Special Olympics Minnesota Athletes to Compete at Summer Games

  • Published: 2010-06-10 : Author: Special Olympics Minnesota
  • Synopsis: Nearly 1,300 athletes to compete June 17-19 at the University of Minnesota.

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Nearly 1,300 athletes to compete June 17-19 at the University of Minnesota.

Nearly 1,300 Special Olympics athletes from across Minnesota will compete at the 2010 Summer Games, June 17-19. One of five state Special Olympics Minnesota competitions annually, Summer Games includes track and field events at the University of Minnesota's Bierman Athletics Complex (corner of 15th Avenue SE and 5th Street SE), volleyball at the University of Minnesota's Recreation Center (1906 University Avenue SE), tennis at Life Time Fitness in Lakeville (18425 Dodd Boulevard) and gymnastics competition at Mini-Hops Gymnastics Club in Minnetonka (131 Cheshire Lane, Suite 100). More than 1,600 volunteers will help make Summer Games possible, and all competitions are free and open to the public.

The 2010 Summer Games Celebration Ceremonies will be held Friday, June 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the University of Minnesota's Bierman Field and will include guest speakers, an athlete parade, Minnesota law enforcement personnel and the ceremonial lighting of the "Flame of Hope" by a Special Olympics Minnesota athlete. Law enforcement volunteers will participate in a 2,000-mile Final Leg relay running the flame across Minnesota in the week leading up to Summer Games. The 2010 Torch Run will culminate at Bierman Field for Celebration Ceremonies. Pre-ceremony entertainment will begin Friday at 5:30 p.m. and will include a performance by the Minnesota Vikings Skol Line.

Between competitions, athletes will have the chance to spend time in Olympic Town, where they can play carnival games, eat healthy snacks provided by Kwik Trip and Schwan's, make new friends and participate in fun activities, including making a take-home potted plant at IREM's Pot-a-Plant tent and dancing to music spun by a disc jockey at the Boogie Town tent. Athletes can also visit Law Enforcement Village, where they can play games, see squad cars and meet some of the law enforcement officers who raise funds throughout the year for Special Olympics Minnesota. Olympic Town also includes the Olympic Town Stage, which provides athletes with entertainment throughout the games. Stage activities include an autograph-signing session with the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders, a magic show by Star Michaelina, dancing by Irish dance troupe Rince Na Chroi, karaoke, a musical performance by Stillwater-based band Ruben, and special performances from Fidgety Fairy Tales.

Athletes can also partake in Healthy Athletes, a series of free medical screenings designed to increase the health and fitness of people with intellectual disabilities, a medically underserved population. The Healthy Athletes program works to improve access to health care by providing a variety of free screenings, making referrals to local health practitioners and training health professionals and students about the needs of people with intellectual disabilities. The 2010 Summer Games Healthy Athletes Village runs throughout the games and will offer Healthy Hearing, Opening Eyes, Special Smiles and Health Promotion. Athletes will also have opportunities for chair massages from Globe University/Minnesota School of Business Massage Therapy and glucose screenings from Health East.

Among the athletes competing in the 2010 Summer Games will be 42 of the 94 total athletes who will make up Team Minnesota at the 2010 USA National Games in Nebraska. Team Minnesota includes sixteen track and field athletes, eight aquatic athletes, a full-court basketball team, eight bowlers, eight golfers, two gymnasts, eight bocce athletes and a softball team. National Games organizers expect 3,500 athletes, 1,000 coaches, 8,000 volunteers and 15,000 family members and friends to gather in Lincoln and Omaha for the event, July 18-23, 2010.

For more information, visit Special Olympics Minnesota's website at or contact Kristen Lancaster at (612) 604-1257 or

Special Olympics Minnesota offers children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round sports training and competition. Through Special Olympics' athletic, health and leadership programs, people with intellectual disabilities transform themselves, their communities and the world.

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