TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The Special Olympics 2021 Games are just days away, and setup for the various events has begun.
Patrick Kozlowski, manager of sports programs from the Special Olympics, said athletes are ready and excited to compete after the pandemic caused the cancellation of the 2020 games.
“For some of them, they maybe haven’t done an event in a year and half or two years since our 2019 games,” he said. “So I think the biggest think this year is getting our athletes all back together.”
One popular event at the Special Olympics is bocce ball, and the set-up for just that one event used to take an entire day, Kozlowski said.
To make it easier current inmates set the courts up Wednesday at the former Indiana State University field track to get ready for the competition. The inmates will also take them down after the games.
“They save us a lot of time, and this makes our week go much more smoothly and efficiently,” Kozlowski said. “So we can’t thank them enough for their support over the years.”
The inmates set up a total of 12 courts–eight for competition and four for practice and warm ups.
“Regardless of what happens on the field or court for competition, a lot of our athletes are going to be really happy just to be back here at Summer Games,” Kozlowski said.
Virtual Opening Ceremonies will be held June 10 and virtual Closing Ceremonies June 19. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies each will begin at 8 p.m. ET and can be viewed free on the organization’s Facebook page or at www.soindiana.org.