From Special Olympics New York:
Albany, NY – Special Olympics New York today announced the cancellation of its signature State Summer Games, which would have brought more than 1,500 athletes and coaches from every region of the state to Dutchess County June 12-13 to compete in eight sports: basketball, bowling, gymnastics, powerlifting, swimming, tennis, track & field, and volleyball.
More than 169,000 Special Olympics New York athletes participate in these sports year-round, combined.
“Summer Games is our largest annual competition for athletes, one that was on track to be bigger and better than ever before as 2020 is our 50th anniversary year. It’s absolutely devastating to remove Summer Games from our calendar,” said Special Olympics New York President & CEO Stacey Hengsterman. “However, we are not willing to compromise the health and safety of our athletes, coaches, volunteers and fans – and that is something I know the entire Special Olympics New York family will understand. We are in this together and we will come out of this together.”
“We applaud Special Olympics New York for making the courageous and prudent decision to cancel the 2020 Summer Games amid this unprecedented pandemic,” said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. “While we are tremendously sad Dutchess County will not have the honor of hosting the Summer Games this June, everyone around the state must focus their time, energy and resources on continuing to care for those affected by Coronavirus. Make no mistake: Dutchess County hopes to welcome the Special Olympics back home in 2021, and even in these uncertain times, we must never forget to ThinkDIFFERENTLY about our friends and neighbors with disabilities.”
With guidance from Special Olympics International and in alignment with New York State recommendations regarding large public gatherings, Special Olympics New York has extended the suspension of its sports training and competition through the end of May. Competitions in June, including Summer Games, are impacted because Special Olympics athletes are required to train for a series of weeks in advance of competing.
In an effort to keep its 67,000 athletes healthy, fit and engaged while formal training is suspended, Special Olympics New York on Monday launched a six-week virtual program. The program includes daily video content such as fitness routines, interactive webinars, educational health and wellness resources and sport-specific skills clinics. Content posts every day at 11 a.m. on the Special Olympics New York YouTube channel and across its social media pages.
About Special Olympics New York
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Special Olympics New York is the largest state chapter in the country, serving more than 67,000 athletes across New York with year-round sports training, athletic competition, and health screenings. The organization also partners with more than 220 schools statewide to offer Unified Sports. All Special Olympics New York programs are offered at no cost to athletes, their families or caregivers. For additional information about Special Olympics New York, to learn more about getting involved, or to make a donation, visit www.specialolympicsNY.org.