BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD)–One of the largest events for athletes with special needs is taking place online, over social media.
The Special Olympics of Illinois’ annual Summer games are taking place this week on Facebook, Instagram and other various platforms due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Usually, the games put athletes head-to-head in physical competition, but this year’s virtual games are a bit different.
This year, special Olympians tune in online to watch videos promoting healthy lifestyles and being active. Things such as stretching and running and walking. Special Olympics officials saying this event brings friends together and it was important to put them on in some aspect.
“This event is allowing people to come together virtually or on social media and reconnect somewhat with the various platforms that we can provide..some feedback we’re getting is this was a great opportunity,” said senior director of program services, Tracy Hilliard.
But, the competitive spirit isn’t fully gone. This year, Special Olympics of Illinois is launching their esports tournament. Teams compete against each other in the soccer-like game of Rocket League, a vehicular soccer game, where cars play soccer.
Hilliard says this still allows some sort of competition to take place and even allows them something to build on in the future with the growing popularity of esports.
“We’re hoping that our current athletes that it broadens the choices they have an in addition that it brings in new athletes who may be have a huge interest in E-sports, so we’re very excited about the future of esports,” Hilliard said.
The games will continue until Sunday, June 14.