Special Olympics scheduled

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 18, 2002

HAMMOND – More than 1,300 athletes and coaches from across the state will be in Hammond on May 24-26 for the 2002 Special Olympics Louisiana State Summer Games at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Celebrating its 34th anniversary, the State Summer Games are the primary competition for athletes who participate in Special Olympics programs throughout Louisiana. The summer games are the largest of five Special Olympics state-level competitions that are held each year.

The athletes have earned the right to compete in the State Summer Games by qualifying through local and area contests held in the 11 Special Olympics areas in the state, as well as in district competitions.

Competitions will be held for individuals and teams in volleyball, badminton, bocce, gymnastics, track and field and power lifting. The events are scheduled at a variety of locations across the university, with competitions starting Saturday at 7:30 a.m. and will conclude on Sunday at noon.

A highlight of the games will be the opening ceremonies scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Strawberry Stadium. The ceremonies include the arrival of the Olympic torch, which is escorted by law enforcement officers, who are completing the final leg of the 1,000-mile Torch Run relay. The event includes a parade of athletes and the lighting of the Special Olympics Flame of Hope.

Southeastern President Randy Moffett will serve as this year’s Honorary Games Chairperson.

“We are pleased to host the State Summer Games at Southeastern for the second consecutive year,” Moffett said in a recent press release.

“We welcome the participants and their families to our campus and are making every attempt to make their visit comfortable and pleasant.”

He said many of the university’s employees are serving as volunteers for the games, which “only enhances the family atmosphere we are cultivating for this event.”

Approximately 1,500 volunteers will be assisting with the events. All events are free and open to the public. For more information about the Special Olympic games, call 1-800-345-6644.