DES MOINES, Iowa — Special Olympics Iowa’s biggest event of the year is adapting to the times. It’s Summer Games will be held virtually through the weekend.
Normally, thousands of athletes with special needs from across the state compete in the Summer Games but officials say roughly 500 competitors will participate this year. All month long, Special Olympics Iowa collected submission videos of athletes in the areas of basketball, track and field, and general fitness.
“We sent out emails to the coaches and postcards to the athletes letting them know how it worked and that they would compete from home. Athletes had family members help them, time, record, and take pictures of themselves,” says Special Olympics Iowa spokesperson Karen Whitman.
Whitman says canceling the event was never an option considering how important the games are to so many athletes and their families. She says the change is being received well.
“The athletes are bummed they can’t see their friends of course but they have been having a lot of fun with it, something different and enjoyed having their family and friends there to help them,” says Whitman.
The Summer Games virtual opening ceremony begins Thursday at 7:00 p.m. and the event will end on Saturday morning with an award ceremony. To view a list of scheduled events and to watch online, click here.