Central Illinois Special Olympics Athletes to Compete in 2017 Spring Games

Special Olympics Spring Games
(Photo courtesy of SOIL/Credit: Michele Evans)


(NORMAL, Ill.) – Families, volunteers and spectators will be cheering on men and women, boys and girls – all Special Olympics athletes – as they compete in the largest Area event of the year for Special Olympics Illinois Heartland/Area 6.  The annual Spring Games takes place on April 23 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Normal Community West High School.  The public is invited to watch the competition and experience the joy of achievement by Special Olympics athletes.  Heartland/Area 6 is composed of DeWitt, Livingston, Mason, McLean, Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties.

At the Heartland/Area 6 Spring Games, approximately 267 athletes are expected to compete in athletics (track & field), the most popular of 19 sports offered by Special Olympics Illinois. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. with an Opening Ceremony.  Competition follows immediately and will conclude around 2 p.m. All athletes will march in the parade of athletes and recite the Special Olympics oath:  “Let me win.  But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”  The running of the torch with the “Flame of Hope” and the lighting of the cauldron signifies the opening of the games.

Athletes will compete in the 50-, 100-, 200-, 400-, 800-, 1,500 and 3,000-meter runs; standing and running long jumps; shot put; tennis and softball throw; mini javelin; 100-, 400- and 800-meter walk races; wheelchair competitions and assisted races.  Athletes compete in divisions by gender and ability levels.

Sponsors for the Special Olympics Illinois Heartland/Area 6 Spring Games are:  Knights of Columbus, WJBC, WBNQ, B104, Nash Icon. WMBD-TV, WYZZ-TV, Coca-Cola, Walmart, Bloomington Golden Kiwanis and Alexander’s Steakhouse.

To compete in the Special Olympics Illinois Heartland/Area 6 Spring Games, athletes must train for eight weeks. Athletes who win a gold medal at these Area games qualify to compete in the Special Olympics Illinois State Summer Games to be held June 9-11 on the campuses of Illinois State University in Normal and Normal Community West High School. More than 4,000 athletes from around the state are expected to compete in Summer Games.

Special Olympics Area 6 Manager Jordan Vose said the Spring Games could not go on without generous volunteer support: “We rely on volunteers to help run every aspect of Spring Games.  But even more importantly, the athletes look forward to the friendship and encouragement they receive from the volunteers.”

About Special Olympics Illinois

The Illinois Knights of Columbus, Law Enforcement Torch Run and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois are Official Partners of Special Olympics Illinois.

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for more than 22,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities and nearly 20,000 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. If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at www.soill.org.