Special Olympics Illinois sparks joy, competition in Central Illinois athletes

Local News

NORMAL, Ill.- Hundreds of athletes competed in the annual Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games. 

The weekend competition is held at Illinois State University and Normal High School campuses. Special Olympics Illinois hosts over 200 competition events a year. Summer Games is the largest Special Olympics competition held throughout Illinois.

More than 4,000 athletes and partners compete in 7 different sports. Making it all possible is over 1,500 coaches, 2,000 volunteers  and over 3,000 family members.

“Just having fun at Special Olympics,” said athlete Justin Smith. “I got a silver medal today.”

“Our athletes are just like everybody else,” said Tracy Hilliard, senior region director . “They want to be involved that they want to be active. They want to be a part of their community and interact no matter the age and I think is what is important.”

Over 10,000 people attend summer games each year.  

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 18 sports for more than 23,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and over 17,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support.

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