Families, volunteers and spectators will cheer on runners, shot-putters and other athletes as they compete in the Special Olympics Illinois Northeastern Area 2 Spring Games from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 25, at North Central College.
The public is invited to watch the competition and experience the joy of achievement by Special Olympics athletes. This is the 10th consecutive year North Central has hosted Special Olympics Area 2’s largest annual event. Visit the Special Olympics Illinois Web site for directions to the Naperville campus, details about parking and other information.
More than 700 athletes from DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Kendall counties will compete in track and field events—the most popular sport in Special Olympics—and 65 athletes will compete in powerlifting. The powerlifters also come from suburban Cook and Will counties. Gold medal winners in both sports are eligible to advance to the Special Olympics Illinois State Summer Games in June at Illinois State University.
The Spring Games Opening Ceremonies takes place at North Central’s Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium, 455 S. Brainard St., at 9 a.m. All 40 teams of 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.” Law enforcement officers from throughout the area will carry The Flame of Hope into Opening Ceremonies and hand it off to a Special Olympics athlete who will light the cauldron. North Central College President Harold Wilde and Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel of Naperville are expected to attend.
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, high jump, 400, 800, and 3K walk races, wheelchair competitions and assisted Races. Powerlifting competition takes place in Merner Fieldhouse. All athletes compete in divisions according to ability level and have trained in their sport for a minimum of eight weeks.
Between 300 and 400 volunteers from northeastern Illinois, including students from North Central College, assist with every aspect of Spring Games. Special Olympics Area Director Sandy Hutchins said, “The games could not go on without generous volunteer support. The athletes look forward to the friendship and encouragement they receive from the volunteers.”
North Central College's Campus Safety department annually raises more than $5,000 in contributions for Special Olympics Illinois.
Sponsors of the 2010 Area 2 Spring Games are: North Central College, Sternberg Vintage Lighting, Knights of Columbus, Allegra Printing & Imaging, Coca Cola, Daily Herald, Home Run Inn Pizza, The Marathan/St. Charles North High School, Fox River Trail Runners, Kiwanis Club of Naperville/Evening, Lisle Windrunners, A-1 Landscape & Maintenance, Catholic Order of Foresters Hampshire Court #729, Larry Eyberger/Nancy Glasgow/Jenna Eyberger/Alaina Eyberger and John and Sally Filipiak.
The city of Naperville is encouraging support of Spring Games and Special Olympics.
About Special Olympics Illinois
Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for nearly 21,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 4,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics promotes acceptance for all and changes lives by empowering people with intellectual disabilities 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 a local Special Olympics agency or the Special Olympics Illinois Area 2 office at 630-377-7250.