GATLINBURG, TN (January 26, 2023) – For the first time since 2020, Special Olympics Tennessee (SOTN) will host its annual State Winter Games. The event will take place in Gatlinburg, TN at Ober Mountain, Rocky Top Sports World and the Gatlinburg Convention Center. The games will feature four different Special Olympics sports with more than 200 athletes participating from across the state.
Special Olympics Tennessee athletes will compete in alpine skiing, snowboarding, speed skating and 3v3 basketball in divisions based on age and ability.
“Our athletes are excited to be back at Ober Mountain for the first time in three years,” said Adam Germek, Special Olympics Tennessee President and CEO. “At their core, our athletes are competitors that strive to do their best while cheering on their peers. It’s always exciting to see the competitions take place in Gatlinburg, so I encourage everyone to come support our athletes.”
Opening ceremonies will take place Sunday, January 29 at 6:45 p.m. at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. The mountain torch relay will begin at 9:15 a.m. on Monday, January 30 followed by the traditional lighting of the Special Olympics Torch at Ober Mountain. Competitions will begin shortly after and will take place through Tuesday, January 31 at Ober Mountain and Rocky Top Sports World.
Also taking place leading up to Opening Ceremonies will be the first Law Enforcement Torch Run of 2023. Participants from Gatlinburg Police Department, Sevierville Sheriff's Office, Pigeon Forge Police Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol will join Special Olympics Tennessee athletes on the Flame of Hope’s journey to the cauldron. The race will begin at the Gatlinburg Police Department at 4:45 p.m. on January 29, with Torch Run participants lighting the cauldron outside the Gatlinburg Convention Center at 5:20 p.m. The mission of the Law Enforcement Torch Run is to raise awareness as well as funds for Special Olympics.
Throughout the weekend, SOTN athletes will also be treated to group dinners, a celebration party after the events and more.
All competitions are open to the public.
For more information, visit OberGatlinburg.com. A full schedule of events can be found at SpecialOlympicsTN.org/winter.
Volunteer opportunities are also available for members of the community to support Winter Games and Healthy Athlete Screenings. These opportunities include check-in and set-up. Click here to volunteer.