Special Olympics Texas’ (SOTX) 48th annual Summer Games will return to The University of Texas at Arlington and surrounding area venues from Thursday, May 24 – Sunday, May 27. All events are free and open to the public. The four-day event is SOTX’s largest competition of the year, featuring more than 3,000 athletes from all around the state of Texas.
Competitors will participate in one of six sports: Athletics (track & field), Basketball, Cycling, Gymnastics, Soccer or Tennis. They will be supported by more than 600 coaches and 2,500 volunteers.
Qualifying athletes are at least 12 years old and have been training for their sport for a minimum of 12 weeks, while also participating at an area-level competition. Some competitors have already qualified to represent Team Texas in the 2018 USA Games in Seattle in July. They will be able to get one more competition under their belts before heading to the Pacific Northwest.
For the second year, the Athletics competition will include a Unified Champion Schools Quadrathlon. Four school districts will bring seven teams made up of two athletes and two Unified Partners – participants without intellectual disabilities. Together the four will compete as a team, with each person participating in the 100m Run, 200m Run, Mini Javelin and the 4x100m Unified Relay. The scores will be tallied using a point system much like a Pentathlon.
The Opening Ceremony will take place on Friday, May 25 at 7:00 p.m. at Maverick Stadium. The festivities will be co-emceed by Dancing with the Stars alum J.R. Martinez and Austin-area SOTX athlete and Global Messenger Morgan Collins. A special guest will declare the Games officially open.
All athletes will parade into the stadium with their teams and will be formally introduced to the crowd before the torch – Flame of Hope – is passed and the cauldron is lit, signifying the official start of the 2018 Summer Games.
The passing of the flame will consist of six segments. The Guardians of the Flame will be members of Texas law enforcement agencies and the torch bearers will be athletes from five Texas regions.
Athletes carrying the flame will be: Seth Williams from Gilmer, Jesse Day from Mineola, Calan Fruge from Killeen, Victoria Martinez from Lubbock, and Christian Grawunder from Brenham.
Volunteers will serve in numerous capacities, including: as officials, scorekeepers, athlete escorts, award presenters and administrative support services. Volunteer opportunities are still available, especially for Track on Sunday, May 27. To sign up for a shift, click here or contact Judy Yoshimaru at firstname.lastname@example.org). Fans in the Stands are also needed to cheer on the athletes.
For a complete schedule of events and all information regarding the 2018 Summer Games, click here.
Number of Athlete by Sport (pre scratches)
Track & Field – 1,633
Basketball – 1,122
Soccer – 151
Tennis – 97
Cycling – 62
Gymnastics – 45
About Special Olympics Texas
Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) is a privately funded non-profit organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect. SOTX provides continuing opportunities for more than 58,800 children and adults with intellectual disabilities throughout the Lone Star State to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. To learn more, visit www.specialolympicstexas.org or call 800.876.5646. Engage with us on: Twitter @SOTexas; fb.com/SpecialOlympicsTX; youtube.com/specialolympicstexas.
- Special Olympics Texas