Torch run, opening ceremonies kick off Special Olympics summer games

June 1 2007

More than 2,400 athletes from around the state will compete at Indiana State University in seven sports: aquatics, track and field, bocce, bowling, cycling, horseshoes and volleyball as part of Special Olympics Summer Games June 1-3. Approximately 2,000 coaches and volunteers will assist in events at venues throughout campus, with hundreds of spectators and family members attending throughout the weekend.

Law enforcement officers will journey 70 miles along U.S. 40 on Friday, June 1, running and bicycling 23 relay segments to deliver the “Flame of Hope” from Victory Field to the ISU campus. The “Flame of Hope” will arrive at Marks Field at approximately 3:30 p.m.

Officer Troy Hintz of the Kokomo Police Department and Special Olympics athlete Andrea Boling of Boonville will deliver the torch to opening ceremonies at Hulman Center, where they will light the cauldron with the “Flame of Hope,” officially opening the 2007 Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games.

Opening Ceremonies will kick off the official competition with a program including a parade of athletes, entertainment by jugglers, stilt walkers and the ISU Sparkettes, a performance by the Chicago Drum Line, a special show by those lovable Pacer mascots Boomer and Bowser and the lighting of the cauldron to open the Games. Gov. Mitch Daniels, this year’s honorary chair, along with Terre Haute Mayor Kevin Burke will welcome the athletes, volunteers and spectators in attendance.

Daniels issued a proclamation designating the week of May 27 - June 3 as Special Olympics Week across the state of Indiana. During Opening Ceremonies he will unveil the Special Olympics Indiana specialty license plate, which will be available beginning in 2008.

Residents of the Wabash Valley will take part in Friday night's festivities. Local VIP’s such as Mayor Burke and David Patterson of the Terre Haute Visitor’s and Convention Bureau and law enforcement officers along with many ISU students/staff members will high-five athletes as they enter Hulman Center. Representatives from the Terre Haute Police Department will be a part of the color guard. Two Terre Haute residents will lead the Special Olympics oaths - Jodi Moan, executive director of Happiness Bag, will lead the oath for officials and James Lawley will lead the oath for the athletes.

Special Olympics Indiana was organized in 1969 through the efforts of two Indiana State University faculty members. Their leadership resulted in the first Special Olympics Indiana Summer Games, which took place in Indianapolis in 1969. ISU has played an integral role in the history of Special Olympics Indiana, hosting the Summer Games 37 out of 39 years and hosting the organization’s Men’s State Basketball Tournament since 1971.

SPECIAL OLYMPICS SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

***Media representatives who are planning to attend Summer Games should register to receive credentials on site at the Special Guests pavilion in Olympic Town, located at Wolf Field. The Special Guests pavilion will be open June 1 (noon - 4 p.m.), June 2 (9 a.m. - 4 p.m.) and June 3 (9 - 11 a.m.).

FRIDAY, JUNE 1

9 a.m. Torch Run Final Kick-Off Ceremony at Victory Field (Indianapolis)
12:30-5:30 p.m. Preliminary competition begins at ISU
3:30 p.m. Torch arrives by relay at Marks Field
7 p.m. Opening Ceremonies at Hulman Center
Free and open to the public

SATURDAY, JUNE 2

8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Competition at ISU (with meal breaks)
All events are free and open to the public.

SUNDAY, JUNE 3

8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Competition at ISU
All events are free and open to the public.

ITEM OF NOTE

Special Olympics athletes will have access to free vision, dental and hearing screenings during the Summer Games. Volunteers from the Indiana University Schools of Dentistry and Optometry and the Indiana University Speech and Hearing Department will be on hand to provide the screenings to athletes, which are part of a global initiative called Special Olympics Healthy Athletes. These screenings will be conducted in Olympic Town (Wolf Field).

COMPETITION VENUES

Wolf Field - Bocce and Olympic Town
Marks Field - Athletics
Rec East/ Simmons Student Activity Center - Athletics and Cycling
North and South Gym, Arena Pool (Health and Human Performance Building) - Aquatics, Athletics and Volleyball

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Contacts:Joy Mahoney, Special Olympics Indiana, (317) 328-2003 or (317) 445-2851 (cell)

Opening Ceremonies -- Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or (812) 841-4137 (cell)

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Story Highlights

More than 2,400 athletes from around the state will compete at Indiana State University in seven sports: aquatics, track and field, bocce, bowling, cycling, horseshoes and volleyball as part of Special Olympics Summer Games June 1-3. Approximately 2,000 coaches and volunteers will assist in events at venues throughout campus, with hundreds of spectators and family members attending throughout the weekend.

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