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Special Olympics Tennessee to Host First State Summer Games Since 2019

Over 600 athletes from across Tennessee set to participate this weekend in Nashville

For the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Special Olympics Tennessee will host its annual State Summer Games this weekend, May 20-21, 2022, at Lipscomb University, Lipscomb Academy and Centennial Sportsplex. The games will feature six different Special Olympics sports with more than 600 athletes from across the state participating.

Opening ceremonies for State Summer Games will take place Friday, May 20 at 6:45 to 8:45 PM at Allen Arena on the Lipscomb University campus. The event will feature a processional of participating athletes, awards and an encouragement speech from Super Bowl champion quarterback Trent Dilfer. The community is encouraged to attend this free event to cheer on Special Olympics athletes.

During the event, athletes will be competing in Bocce, Powerlifting, Swimming, Tennis, Track and Volleyball. Competitions will begin at 8:30 AM on Saturday, May 21. Click here for a full schedule.

“We’re so excited to be back for the first time in three years,” said Sean Stake, VP of Sports for Special Olympics Tennessee. “Our athletes, coaches, volunteers and sponsors are thrilled to finally be back. The athletes have waited a long time and have worked hard to show off their skills to compete against their peers at this year’s games.”

Thanks to a partnership with Lipscomb University, Special Olympics Tennessee (SOTN) athletes will be competing at athletic facilities throughout the campus.

“Lipscomb has been a tremendous partner for Special Olympics Tennessee for as long as I can remember,” said Stake. “They believe in the event. They believe in the athletes. They thoroughly enjoy being a part of our Summer Games, and we are beyond thankful for their support every year.”

To kick off the event, law enforcement agencies from across the state will take part in the Law Enforcement Torch Run. This includes Metro Nashville Police Department, Brentwood Police Department, Knoxville Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sevier County Search & Rescue, Hamilton County Medical Examiner’s Office, Manchester Police Department, Montgomery County Driver’s Safety and Tennessee POST Commission. Known as Guardians of the Flame, law enforcement members and Special Olympics athletes carry the “Flame of Hope” into Opening Ceremonies of competitions.

Throughout the event, SOTN athletes will also take part in Healthy Athletes screenings. Opening Eyes will offer free vision screening and Healthy Hearing will free provide screening for ears. There will also be fitness and nutrition booths to help educate athletes on healthy food and drink choices.

“Opening Eyes, Healthy Hearing and health promotion Healthy Athlete events are an opportunity for our athletes to receive much-needed health screenings and education,” said Dr. Natalee Kamau, SOTN’s Manager of Health and Fitness.” These opportunities allow for us to assess needs in the areas of vision, hearing and general fitness and nutrition so that our athletes can participate at their highest level. We believe our athletes can achieve great things when given the right tools.”

Throughout the weekend, SOTN athletes will also be treated to group dinners, a celebration party after the events and much more.

Special guests attending will be state commissioner Brad Turner of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities as well as members of the Davidson County legislative delegation.

Registration is also open for Young Athletes, a program for children ages 3 to 10 with and without disabilities. More information can be found here.

Volunteer opportunities are also available for members of the community to support Summer Games. These opportunities include setup, check-in, monitoring competitions, meal distribution and more. Click here to volunteer.