The largest statewide Special Olympics New York statewide competition of the year is coming to Ithaca on June 9 & 10. More than 800 athletes and coaches from throughout the state will be in the area for State Summer Games on June 9 & 10 for competition in seven sports: Basketball, Bowling, Gymnastics, Powerlifting, Swimming, Track & Field, and Tennis.
Local leaders and athletes hosted a press conference at Ithaca High School today to announce the details of the Games and to recruit 400 volunteers from the Tompkins and Broome County communities.
No sports experience is necessary to volunteer. There is a range of jobs for individuals and groups, including set up, parking assistance, meal distribution, athlete escorts, photographers, timers, scorekeepers, and more.
Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 42,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with more than 200 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports, where students with and without disabilities compete as teammates. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families, or caregivers. For additional information about Special Olympics New York, to learn more about getting involved, or to make a donation, visit www.specialolympicsNY.org.
Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman said, “Our athletes can’t wait to return to Ithaca for State Summer Games. They’re looking forward to the competition – first and foremost – but I know they’ll want to see the volunteers they met last year as well. Thank you, Ithaca, for helping us make the 2023 State Summer Games our best yet.”
Ithaca College President La Jerne Terry Cornish said, “We provide countless volunteers, but this is not an act of charity. In return, the athletes give us more than enough. They fill our souls with inspiration, they fill our hearts with admiration, and several times last year, they filled our eyes with tears. In victory and defeat, their epic stories move us.”
Ithaca City School District Deputy Superintendent Lily Talcott said, “We are so honored to be hosting the Special Olympics right here in Ithaca. Our community’s deep commitment to inclusion, including the tremendous outpouring of support for our Unified Sports teams, makes this special day even more important to us. Thank you to the Special Olympics and to amazing students, staff, and families, who help make all of this possible.”
Tompkins County Chair Shawna Black said, “We are so excited that the Special Olympics New York State Summer Games is back in Tompkins County. We look forward to hosting the amazing athletes, their families, and spectators!”
State Summer Games weekend begins Thursday, June 8, at Stewart Park, where Special Olympics New York will host “A Night of Champions” to honor local Game Changers and raise funds to support the Games. Discounted tickets are on sale in coordination with today’s announcement, at Night-of-Champions.org.
On Friday, June 9, athletes and coaches will travel to Ithaca from throughout the state, coming together for a signature Opening Ceremonies at Ithaca College, beginning at 7 p.m.. Sports competitions will take place all day Saturday, June 10, at Ithaca College (Swimming, Basketball, Gymnastics, Powerlifting, Tennis); Ithaca High School (Track & Field); and Midway Lanes (Bowling), followed by Closing Ceremonies at the college