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Special Olympics virtual summer games start Monday


Last updated 5/15/2020 at 11:25am

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Special Olympics Montana is celebrating its 50th anniversary virtually.

The State Summer Games are beginning virtually Monday.

“We’re simply excited to be able to offer an online virtual opportunity for our athletes especially since it is our 50th year,” Special Olympics Montana Sports Director Scott Held said. “These virtual opportunities are something that never existed anywhere in the world for Special Olympics athletes to participate in, so we’re excited for that and to be able to continue to offer programming in our 50th year despite the restrictions that are taking place.”

Before the games begin, the opening ceremony will be broadcast Sunday at 11 a.m. at Special Olympics Montana’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/specialolympicsmontana and on the YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/SpecialOlympicsMT .

Held said the games will begin Monday and run through July 17, with no games held the week of Fourth of July.

He said every two weeks on a Monday events will be posted on the Special Olympics website for the athletes to compete in.

“Since this can’t be a team-based activity where we can get a lot of athletes together participating like you traditionally would, a lot of these events that we are going to have are highly skilled-based,” he said. “So we’re picking out some skills from certain sports that we offer in our traditional state summer games.”

Within each event, he said, three different levels will be set to accommodate each athlete’s varying abilities.

Levels will be available for the athletes with lower abilities and then levels progressively get harder for the athletes with higher abilities, Held said.

For example, he said, the 10-yard dash is set up for the athletes that need higher physical assistance,  such as athletes who are in a wheelchair or need balance as they walk.

The Level One event is called the 10-yard roll or the 10-yard assisted walk, Level Two is the 10-yard walk and Level Three is the 10-yard run, he added.

The way this works virtually, he said, is for the athletes to compete at home.

A printable participation form is available on the website, https://www.somt.org/virtual-state-summer-games, for the athletes to fill out showing what events they did at the end of each quarter, then send it in to receive either a gold medal certificate, silver medal certificate, bronze medal certificate or a participation medal certificate based on how many they participated in, he said.


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