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Special Olympics State Games to be hosted at Troy University

Nearly 1,500 athletes and approximately 350 of their coaches and chaperones will compete in the Special Olympics Alabama State Games at Troy University.

This year’s event marks the 13th year Special Olympians have competed at Troy.

 The Pike County Special Olympics team has ben busy preparing for the state games, which will be hosted on the Troy campus from May 17 to May 19.

“We have 21 athletes this year from the Pike County area competing,” said Kim Faulkner, coordinator of the Pike County team. “To be eligible, these athletes had to participate in our local games and they have to be 8 years old or older.”

Faulkner said the games are something the athletes look forward to every year, and that this year’s theme of “the revolution is inclusion” is truly the core of what the games are.

“It gives them a chance to do something they’re good at, they excel in and do that,” Faulkner said. “Whether physically or mentally challenged, this is something they can participate in.”

Shirts are being sold now for $20 each to help cover the team’s expenses. Anyone wanting a shirt can contact Faulkner at 334-372-8195.

The weekend will kick off with the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run on Friday, May 17.  Law enforcement officers from across the state will bring the torch into Troy around 2 p.m.  The public is invited to the last leg of the run as it leaves the Troy Police Department and travels south on Brundidge Street and then east on University Avenue, terminating at the Trojan Arena plaza.

 Competitions will include 10 sports conducted both on the Troy Campus and at venues in the city of Troy, beginning with the opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. May 17 in Trojan Arena. The ceremony will include a parade of athletes, special welcomes and entertainment.

Sporting events begin on May 18 at 9 a.m. at various venues. Sport events include swimming, gymnastics, equestrian, bowling, track and field, softball/baseball, cycling, bocce, flag football and golf. A Victory Dance will be held Saturday night.

This year’s Victory Dance will feature some special entertainment, Scot Bruce, an Elvis tribute artist.  The community is invited to the Victory Dance at Trojan Arena to listen to the music of Scot Bruce.

Closing ceremonies will be conducted May 19 and will include a memorial service for those athletes who have died in the past year.

Herb Reeves, dean of student services, said the Olympics is always a special time at the university.

“Hosting the state games brings a lot of people to the campus and to the community,” Reeves said. “It’s a lot of great exposure to Troy as a whole, not just the university, but the city as well. It’s an exciting time for those athletes to come to campus and compete and participate in other activities such as Olympic town and the victory dance.”

Volunteers for the State Games are being sought, Reeves said.

“The athletes are very excited to be returning to Troy,” Reeves said. “Not only would we extend an invitation for students and community members to participate in the special ceremonies, but volunteers are very important in order to make this event a success,” he said.

To volunteer, contact Reeves at 334-670-3203 or via email at sepcialolympics@troy.edu.

 “We invite you to visit, cheer or volunteer to assist the athletes in having the best time ever.  Your interest and help is greatly appreciated,” Reeves said.