VERMILLION, S.D. – The Special Olympics South Dakota State Summer Games will return to Vermillion, where it started 51 years ago, May 16-18. The event is hosted in collaboration by Special Olympics South Dakota, the University of South Dakota and the Vermillion Area Chamber & Development Company.
The community is invited to witness the Torch Run and the Opening Ceremony. The run starts at Ratingen Platz at 5:30 p.m., and the Flame of Hope will make its way through the streets of Vermillion down Main Street and left on North Dakota Street to the Opening Ceremony at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center (SCSC). The public can line the streets to cheer on the athletes, or they can choose to run along with the torch.
The Opening Ceremony begins at 7 p.m., featuring the Torch Run presentation, the Parade of Athletes, the presenting of the flags, an invocation and the Lighting of the Cauldron. The ceremony ends with the official reading of the oaths.
Over 500 athletes are expected to participate in this year’s Summer Games. They will compete in a range of events such as powerlifting, team soccer, race walking and a variety of track and field activities that will take place at the DakotaDome, the SCSC and the USD Track & Field and soccer areas. All events are open to the public.
“We are honored to host this year’s Special Olympics Summer Games," said David Herbster, USD's athletic director. "Special Olympics South Dakota started on the campus of USD, and I look forward to kicking off the next 50 years here. I can’t think of a more outstanding and inspiring group of athletes to welcome into our facilities."
Special Olympics is an unprecedented global movement which, through quality sports training and competition, improves the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and, in turn, the lives of everyone they touch.
Special Olympics Summer Games believes that through sports training and competition, people with intellectual disabilities benefit physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. Both through participation and observation, families are strengthened and the community is united in an environment of equality, respect and acceptance.